Your Online Self

[Last Updated on Thursday 1/13/2022]
It’s the 21st century, so of course you’re online.
How to put your best foot forward?

Some general philosophy:

Being Online:

  1. A personal website:
    • I have several, but one is just fine for you (www.slivka.com is mostly travel photos, www.benslivka.com is this WordPress blog, www.slivka.org is my family foundation, www.benslivka.net redirects to my LinkedIn profile).
    • I recommend www.NameCheap.com as your Registrar, then use www.WordPress.com or some other hosting solution.
    • Try to find a short domain name that is still (mostly) your name. Some I’ve seen recently include www.gcan.co, www.nicolezhu.io, and www.RobinBrewer.com.
    • Avoid long domain names, e.g., www.FirstnameMiddle1Middle2Lastname.com!
    • At a minimum, you want to include a link to your LinkedIn profile (online resume) and a short 1-2 paragraph summary about yourself.
    • After that, a portfolio of your work (github, code for projects, links to websites and/or videos you have created, etc.) really helps you stand out.
    • Definitely see what other high school and college students are doing with their personal websites, but…
    • Don’t be intimidated at the prospect of building a website: even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  2. Your email address:
    • Mine is ben{at}slivka{dot}com.  I was lucky to have an uncommon last name and to be around to register slivka.com in 1997.
    • If you’ve registered a short domain name, use that for your email, too (probably redirect or host at GMail).
    • Otherwise, use a short gmail.com address (I have benslivka{at}gmail{dot}com, too).
    • Be professional (FuzzyBunny34@ may have been cute when you were 12…).
  3. Your LinkedIn profile:
    • Pro Tip: Be sure to edit your LinkedIn URL to remove the random letters/numbers that LI appends at the end of your default URL.
    • This is your online resume, so keep it up to date, and have a “paper” resume as back-up.
    • Your college information should include GPA, and for STEM degrees, you can list major (CS, EE, Math, etc.) courses.
    • Be sure to include high school performance (GPA, class rank, component SAT/ACT scores, AP test scores, and key achievements (3rd place state chess championship, yes; president of French Club, no).
    • “Work Experience” is paid work, “Volunteer” is un-paid.
    • Be sure to include hours/week and total weeks for every job, project, etc.
    • Please list specific, concrete information for each effort: how many customers served, how many lines of code written, bugs fixed, dates, dollars saved, etc.
  4. Your Resume:
    • Create a printable version (likely in Microsoft Word) of your LI information.
    • Focus on your most important information so it all fits on one printed page.
  5. Using Twitter:
    • Even if you’re not going to use Twitter much (I don’t), you should still create an account so no one can be the “fake BenSlivka”.  😉
    • Unless you aspire to work in media or politics, Twitter is unlikely to advance your career.
  6. Using Facebook:
    • I joined northwestern.thefacebook.com in 6/2004 when it launched at NU and was only open to people with @northwestern.edu email addresses.
    • You can spend hours/day on Facebook if you’re not careful.
    • Be careful.
  7. YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.:
    • I created my Instagram account in 2012, but I used it very sparingly. After my wife took up photography a few years ago, I tried to use Instagram a bit more. But until late 2021, you could only upload photos from the mobile app. [Since then, I’ve noticed my Facebook posts sometimes get “cross-posted” to Instagram. Haven’t tried to figure out how/when that happens.]
    • My YouTube channel (www.videos.slivka.com) has more than 3,200 videos, but then I’m unemployed, I travel a lot, and I captured my first digital still image in 1996 and my first digital video in 1997.
      [1/13/2022: 3,206 videos; 6,369,365 views; 15,516 followers; 1 video has 1.9M views; I had a spike in traffic from mid-2019 to mid-2020, and then YouTube changed something, and my traffic fell off dramatically.]
      [1/28/2021: 3,149 videos; 6,001,244 views; 14,667 followers; 1 video has 1.9M views, 2 others >500K views]
      [6/28/2019: 2,571 videos; 3.1M views; 2 videos have >500K views each]
      [1/4/2016: ~1,200 videos]
    • Unless you’re a video artist, post sparingly on YouTube.
    • When I first wrote this post in 2016, Tumblr and Pinterest were reasonably popular.
      [1/13/2002: I don’t see much activity on those sites today.]
  8. GitHub:
    • Every CS and CE major must have a GitHub account.
    • I did most of my professional coding at Microsoft, and I wrote my last serious code there in 1994 (for CAB files).
    • I only write a bit of JavaScript for www.slivka.com very occasionally.
    • I created www.github.com/BenSlivka in 2014, but didn’t post any code until February 2021, when I found an OS/2 application (1988) and three Windows applications (1994, 1995, 1997) I could post.
    • Be sure to include a commentary with every project that explains the context, e.g., for a specific class, or a hobby, or perhaps for a non-profit organization.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Author: benslivka

19 start-ups, software, hardware, biotech, space launch, neurodiversity, learning, free markets, food, wine, cycling, walking, Seattle, Microsoft, Northwestern University, Garfield HS, DreamBox Learning, IBM, Amazon.

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