The web is your billboard

It took me about a year to figure out why I have a blog. I think of this as a mini magazine. It appeals mostly to people who I’ve met yet the writing should be interesting enough such that more people would read it if this was the only blog in the world.

Luckily, there is plenty of good writing on the web elsewhere.

I would like your thoughts on something. I am meeting more and more people with ‘public face’ websites. These websites have their real names, contact details, CVs, portfolios (art and writing), and so on.

This blog is a different beast. I don’t use surnames, company names, contact information, photos of people at private events, or any other identifiers. I’ve done some growing up here so it’s obviously not my public face. In fact, if you put my full name in quotes into Google, this blog is far, far down in the listings. I’m not even sure how Google connects my name to this blog, actually.

What I’d like your opinion on is:

  • Why do people have public internet faces? How do they use it?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a public face?
  • What rules should people follow about the information they put on their websites?


  1. goodshithappens says:

    people have public faces because

    1) they don’t write well.
    2) they think they are damn gorgeous. 3) they want to be famous.
    4) they just want to share their pictures.
    5) they don’t care coz it’s a platform for them to keep in touch with their friends.
    6) they have alright faces but they just want to leave beautiful memories and write about them and share it with the world.
    7) they are confident about themselves and how they look.

    I refrain from revealing my personal email address and links to my biographies, but people still know my name. argh. and i think it’s alright as long as they don’t know my full name. heh

  2. Joanna says:

    People have public faces because google knows all. So if a current employer searches for me on google when they’re deciding whether to hire me, better that the first hit is my professional public face, rather than that geocities page I made when I was 13 proclaiming my love of the Spice Girls*.

    If you’re looking for a job related to the internet, an “online resume” would probably do more at selling you.

    I guess there is still the problem of revealing public information though.

    *Note: I don’t have a geocities page proclaiming my love of the Spice Girls. Or do I? 🙂

  3. joanium says:

    Ian sent me this link. It’s a useful summary of how you use the internet to minimise damage and maximise impact — How to look good when your recruiter google you.

    I was thinking about the audience one would have for a ‘public’ website.
    1) Anyone stalking you socially.
    2) An employer or client looking you up.
    3) Anyone you give your business card to.
    4) If you do good work, then people who see it elsewhere may want to find out more about you.
    5) People who participate in the same forums as you (and you link your website to your user profile).

    It seems like, unless your a public figure, your public website acts as your CV, except you don’t put your address and phone number on it.

    Unless you’re famous, I doubt you will be headhunted based on your web presence. So prospective employers probably already have your CV. The purpose of the public website would therefore be:
    1) To distract people from more damaging references to you on the internet (which you haven’t been able to get rid of).
    2) To display your writing or art.
    3) To show that you are keeping up with current events by publishing a professional blog.

  4. Ian says:

    Joanium, I totally agree. My site is there as a distraction and for professional reasons. If I was much of a writer or an artist, I would use it for that 2.

  5. Daniel says:

    Joan… kinda funny isn’t it. If I recall, wasn’t my website originally part of the reason that you started a blog?

    There are several reasons why I keep a personal webpage and the order of priority for these reasons has shifted greatly since the beginning.

    At first, it was merely an exercise in learning html. I didn’t particularly want to be a web designer, but I figured that knowing html would be a useful skill. As it happens, I have previously been employed as a web designer and those skills I learned were very useful.

    I googled myself recently and, not surprisingly, my page is first. Most of the other results are related to what I’ve done in MUMS and the skating world. How interesting.

    I think now, my webpage has become an important link for my friends to find out about me and what I’m up to when I’m away. It has at various times served as a document cache for the “Stand up for your rights” organising committee, a news updates site for skating world championships and a convenient place for me to put invites to parties on.

    When I really think about it, my personal webpage is really an experiment for me. I need to get onto task about setting up my own server so that I can run applications, but my page is my way of “testing the water” of the world wide web.

    The fact that an employer might use it, or that it is my “public” face hadn’t really occurred to me, even though my site has all the hallmarks of a site designed for just that purpose. The reason it looks like that is because I basically ripped off other people’s webpages and modified them for my own use. I believe that’s called plagiarism… or research… I forget which.

    I realise now that my page is a very public thing, but that is more a reflection of my attitude towards the “public-ness” of my life. I am not a particularly private person and I’m not too fussed about passers-by knowing the stranger details of my life. (maybe I should be?).

    My webpage is, as close as I can get it to be, “me” on the web… if a potential employer doesn’t like it, then I’m not fussed in the slightest, because that would mean that they probably wouldn’t like me.

    Anyway… I think I’ve written much more than I originally intended.

    p.s. it’s a pity I don’t write well, although the fact that I am damn gorgeous probably makes up for that 😉

  6. joanium says:

    GSH, I haven’t read anything worrying on your blog at all. My guess is you live a good clean sort of life 🙂 So your future is safe! Go forth! Blog!

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