I spend a lot of time talking with academic researchers about promoting their work, including how and where to develop their digital identities—through social media, blogs, websites and making use of the networking platforms where their audiences are likely to be. But equally important is insuring that if you are going to invest time and effort in these endeavours, to not waste time using niche and unsustainable platforms, especially for websites. I have fallen foul of this recently with Flavors.me, which recently went out of business—taking my website with it. I’d been using Flavors.me since 2012, and found it useful because it aggregated content from all of my social media identities into a single hub. This was good, because my activities elsewhere in the more dynamic word of social media kept the website alive, with only minimal updates required.
One of the main points I make to people I work with is to develop a hub—a single site that provides an overview of your work, what you’re about, and where else you can be found in the digital landscape. This provides a counterpoint to the tens of different profiles that people often build across multiple different platforms, all in varying states of decay. Rather than making you easier to find, it dilutes your activity, and leaves much of your digital presence poorly out of date. A good hub should recognise that people rarely bookmark or return to personal webpages, but instead may choose to follow you/keep in contact using the platform they use themselves, whether this be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or more industry-specific platforms such as ResearchGate. However, each of your social media and networking platforms should link back to your hub, which provides the extra information that you want people to know about, resources you want them to access and other means to engage with you.
For creative professionals, it has always been a challenge to integrate their various interests in a single site, and portfolio websites are useful—if imperfect—ways to bring these together. I say imperfect because if you provide several different services (which I do), you should really market each separately—targeting the specific clients and audiences you need to reach. My specialist consultancy work with financial and academic clients might seem far removed from my editorial and lifestyle photography business, yet I’ve found that some clients like to see that I offer a creative personality to my more analytical professional services. This battle of left- and right-brain personalities hasn’t been easy, so I’m also particularly interested to use all my skill sets in every piece of work I do—providing end to end support with scientific writing, photography, design and typography. I’d also love to do more documentary photography and story telling about amazing scientists or research and charitable organisations doing great work in human, animal and environmental health.
So bear with me while I try and recover data from my old website, and knit together a new hub for myself.