Getting Noticed

You might want to aggregate your online participations into one spot for many reasons. The primary reason is for personal branding and getting noticed; whether by design or not, this is the root reason. Personal branding is guarding and reinforcing your public image online through these various resources for professional reasons, for example if you are a freelancer, or for personal reasons, vanity or otherwise.

Promoting your online identity is one of the major reasons to amass your online interactions into one place. You can use this to showcase your professional involvement a community or profession. This can showcase your expertise in many ways as well as spread your audience to different groups. It can really function as a type of business networking among different audiences.

Even if you're not using a public persona for business purposes, this same reason applies to your hobbies or your personal passion. If you participate in social networks for home beer brewing, why not aggregate those activities into one location? If you attract attention because of your witty insight or accurate and knowledgeable information, this is one way to become recognized as an expert in your field of interest. A nice side effect of this behavior is that the links help the popular search engines find you, which is covered in Chapter 10.

Another reason for collecting different information into one site is simply about how easy it is for others to find that information. For example, if your site functions as a family grapevine or business news aggregator it could be difficult for a family member or a possible client to keep tabs on all the different locations that you participate in. If you tweet about your baby's first steps, will your mom ever see it? Does she even know what Twitter is? Well, she probably does now that Oprah is on it, but can she keeps tabs on all the different places this news could be broadcast? In the same vein, how will clients know to check your latest YouTube promotional video if they do not know it is even available? Collecting this information into a primary source brings all these different data points in front of your audience's eyes. And in the end, it drives traffic to your site rather than away from it, because your site becomes the one true source.

This is a classic "long tail'' content problem, and worth discussing a little more. Your web site is just one source of content in hundreds of millions out there. But the people you intersect and actively communicate with, and the closure of the set of those people's friends and families, builds an audience: Your audience. Aggregating your content is about building this audience by "showing up'' in multiple places with appropriate content, context and granularity of updates. Tweeting about recent blog posts, or importing blog post summaries into Facebook, for example, are easy ways to spread the word. Incorporating professional organizations that strengthen your own professional reputation furthers this goal.

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