Saturday, March 27, 2010

Learning about the Web

It really is never too late to learn. Writing for the web has proven to be a real eye-opening experience. Short (no, I'm an academic!), moderately repetitive (must draw search engines) and zingy (must sell myself!). Which is one of the reasons I started a this blog; I need an outlet for my "real" writing.

Creating a web-presence is exhausting: facebook pages, tweets, this blog, commenting on articles related to my website, tweaking my site endlessly for optimized search success, modifying my online ad campaigns, using any and all contacts I have in order to get my first few customers. There is always something else I could be doing. And, it is terrifying. I'm putting myself out there, as myself. There is no hiding behind a handle or a username; I am who I am, and what I write is how I am presenting myself to the world. This is Lee Skallerup, PhD, and here is what I think. Please visit my website.

In my academic life, I had to be careful. No postings that might make me seem unprofessional. Or politically incorrect. Or critical of academia. Talk about your research and little else. And now, well, guess what? I'm poking a (very tiny) finger in academia's (giant) eye. Probably won't be noticed. But, then again, it might. Nothing about my research, just talking about teaching. Offering services outside of the university. Not accepting low pay anymore. I am teacher, hear me roar!


The most frustrating thing about all of this? We have been lead to believe in the immediacy of the Internet; information (and money!) at your fingertips. Do you know what I found out today? It takes 6-8 weeks for a search engine to find and index your site, even if you submit it to them. Really? There's a kick in the gut. So for all my web presence optimizing, I am going to have to buckle down, print up some posters and just go nuts in a very low-tech way. At least I was able to do the poster in my word processing program; for my first experience in self-employment, I distributed hand-drawn fliers around my neighborhood advertising my services as a babysitter. It paid off, though. I had one family who used me consistently throughout my high school years. Let's hope this second round of fliers works just as well!

Let's go, low-tech!

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