I feel fortunate to be able to say I have enjoyed all the cities I've lived in. I was born in Toronto, our family relocated to Chicago, I went to university in Vancouver, and my career began in Sydney. The smallest city in that list, Vancouver, still boasts a population of 600,000 and the average population for those is 2.56M. Now I live in Boulder, CO which has 106,166 people.
I guess after city life, I was looking for something a bit quieter, something more private. I work from home and where I live made me appreciate how fun star gazing can be when you aren't battling light pollution.
I'm an outdoorsy person so Boulder was where I knew I would be able to experience some nature without taking time off work to go camping. After living here 2 years, I enjoy the slower pace of life. The other day I had to do a lane change to pass a woman riding her horse on the shoulder of the road.
The catch 22 here is that if I want to work from home throughout my career, I have to put myself all over the internet to facilitate job opportunities. I'm not saying networking offline is impossible, but it's hard to believe it's as effective today as someone familiar with Google or capable of making a digital portfolio of their work.
During the creation of my website DanTeaches.com I wanted to ensure I maintained a professional atmosphere. Since businesses have social media accounts, and I was my own business, I should be open to the idea of including my social media site links throughout my website. Over time, however, I realized the best way to go about this was to create a DanTeaches Twitter and Pinterest account, rather than exposing my personal twitter and other social media accounts.
A section of my site is titled Resources, and it provides places for visitors to check out more on the subjects I'm involved within. Recently I was assigned a project to create a Network Learning Space, which is a place online for people to gather, discuss, and share ideas on any subject. They exist as LinkedIn and Facebook Groups, as well as online forums. I'm particularly interested in gaming as a learning solution, so I created one titled Gamification in Online Learning. In my efforts to be a provider of information on a subject, I now find myself administering over a social networking site (it's a very small community at the moment but pretend for a moment it has a few hundred people).
Two years ago I physically moved to Boulder to achieve more privacy. Now though that I've grown my online presence, I have to take measures on the web to maintain those same levels of privacy. That's fine, but online privacy is something most of us are still getting used to. Recently, for example, I've realized if anyone really wanted to, even though my personal Facebook isn't on my website, with a little googling someone could find it. To be professional you have to include images of yourself on places like your website, and it's not hard to compare Facebook profile pictures to the one you use to represent yourself on LinkedIn. As such, I've had to adapt my Facebook permission settings to now not allow people to post to my Facebook wall - I now have to approve posts. So now, besides monitoring a NLS, I'm also monitoring one of my personal NLSs.
My takeaway has been that it's important to stay relevant in your industry, and to remain relevant you must adapt, and to adapt means to network online, and to network online effectively, you must convey professionalism. Comparing to the physical networking experience I have, most are not forthcoming with detailed personal information of themselves to people they just met. Online, I have the same approach.