What is digital presence?
Digital presence simply refers to how your business appears online; or for an individual, it is what people find when they search for you on the internet. It includes content that you control, like your website, any piece of information created by or about you, accounts and social media profiles, and also content that you do not control, such as online reviews. The importance and advantages of digital presence- also known as online presence- are plentiful. For businesses: it helps to build the brand, makes the brand easy to access at all times, helps the business to reach a larger audience and lots more; for an individual: it helps when going out to apply for jobs as your web profile gives you an edge over someone with just a resume.
Influence of digital presence in my real life.
Although the witty, loquacious, blunt online being contrast the highly-introverted, quiet, shy real life being; my online presence somehow finds a way to influence my day to day life. Being a social media person with no particular business to promote, I glide from one social app to the other; learning new things, posting pictures-sometimes my daily experiences, reading news/articles, checking up on friends and family and of course relieving school stress by reading memes. Some of the ways my digital presence has influenced my real life include:
My speech/communication skills.
It is so sad that nowadays I, even as a student, do not have time to read the dictionary- whether manual or electronic- in search of new words to improve and increase my vocabulary. More access to information, articles, stories and written work of people online has however increased my access to new words. The fact that someone has used that word that I knew nothing about will push me to find the meaning of the word and also look up other words related to it thereby increasing my vocabulary. This has helped to sharpen my communication skills as I no longer have any difficulty communicating with the ‘higher’ class people.
Strengthening my network and connectivity.
This is in terms of exposure to opportunities, scholarships, internships and the likes: things I would not have ordinarily gotten if I had done a manual search for them. Connecting with like minds- people in my field- has been made easier with just a single tap on the ‘people you may know button’ on Facebook, for instance. Once in a while, there would be an opportunity to meet this people physically and connect even better with them.
Doing it to please online friends?
There is always a balanced contrast for everything in life. In as much as there has been positive impacts in my real life, there is also the negative part. To my above question; yeah, just to feel among and to protect my online image. My dressing sense, which I normally do not care about has been influenced by who I am online because I most times fear someone on my friend list might meet me outside and his or her expectation would not be met. My coordination in public places, where and how I eat; whether they be extremely difficult to abide by or not, is influenced by the question ‘what if someone sees you like this, would they be satisfied?’ thereby making me a men pleaser.
Difficulty to socialize in person.
I am sometimes so addicted to my phone that I forget about a hangout with my friends or a family dinner or a movie date with the one I love. The comfort I get from just lying down with a glass of juice and scrolling through news feed, trending gist, write ups on my phone does not match the stress of looking for a suitable outfit, standing by the road to get a cab, sometimes walking a certain distance. This in turn has made me loose some close friends and also resulted in heated argument.
Ways of optimizing life on and off line.
Knowing that life online is as important as life offline, we have to know how to optimize both and make efficient use of them. Methods of optimizing life online:
- Watching the kind of people we follow or are in our friend list. Just follow people that are beneficial to you and make posts that one way or the other increase your knowledge.
- Trying as much as possible not to get addicted to our digital devices. Periodically take a break from your online life, give yourself time and space to unplug and cultivate your life off the screen.
- Always make sure the time spent online is worthwhile; prioritize time over activities. A to-do list could help with this.
- Use the online space to your advantage. Do not just use the internet! Advertise your brand at every chance you get to do so and to as many people as possible. Sell yourself; you could just get exciting mouth-watering job offers.
Methods of optimizing life offline:
- Leveraging on the connections you make online, also build a strong offline presence. Use the internet as an enhancement of real life.
- Improve your daily routine and focus on productivity. Work more efficiently and waste less time on internet frivolity.
- Determine to make a difference in one specific area each day.
- Pay attention to your health, mental wellbeing, spiritual life, social life. This cannot be done online.
In conclusion, your identity affects how people will treat you: this does not mean you have to live your life to please people. Your digital presence should be quite different from your real life. Even if one may or may not influence the other, it should not be at detriment of any of them. Both are important and should be used to your advantage.
Prosper Badejo is an engineering student of the University of Ibadan. She has a flair for writing and every day, seeks to improve her writing skills. She can be reached via “email@example.com”