The Social Designer

Earlier this month I wrote an article about self promotion online as a designer (read Speak to Me over at xheight). I summed it up to this sentiment:

Self promotion is not about pushing an ego onto others, it’s simply about making yourself visible and accessible.

One thing I realised quickly in my career is the importance of having a consistent public profile. There’s no point running a Tumblr blog if no one associates it with you. When Google+ launched a few weeks ago I registered my usual black & white headshot and made sure to link my profile across the web—from Twitter to dbushell.com—BOOM! An extension to my online persona.

Google Authorship

But a Google profile is more than your normal web presence:

Google search for "Circle me" showing an author profileGoogle search for “Circle me”.

What you’re seeing in the first search result is the Google Authorship program in action. Because my blog links to my Google+ profile reciprocally, Google knows I’m the author of that page and shows my mugshot. With the right development I can link to my profile on every website I publish content for. See Graham Smith’s guide to Google Authorship for a designer-friendly introduction.

The second search result promotes a link I’ve shared as a +1 recommendation. (It happens to be my other blog linking to the same article, but that’s not the point!)

Open to the Public

No hiding now! Promoting yourself online is a big commitment. With such a strong public profile it’s a dangerous game. There’s a level of professional integrity that can be easily damaged with poorly written criticism (or a drunken tweet).

In reality though, the “privacy” of the past has always been an illusion. Whatever information I make public is just that; public. It doesn’t matter whether I whisper it in a friends ear or publish it online—it’s out there. For that reason I think this heightened level of online promotion will be a good thing. I’ll be far more conscious of what I make public and will wield a lot more power for self promotion.

For those working in the web industry, is it possible to stay behind the curtain?


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