One subject that I’ve never touched on in a blog post is the decision of linking your social media profiles to your blog. I’m not necessarily talking about creating a link that people can click on (although that’s involved in some cases) as much as I’m talking about making it obvious for onlookers to know that your social media profile is associated with your blog. For example, my Mixx profile is vandelay, my del.icio.us profile is vandelaydesign. In both cases it’s not to difficult for anyone who cares to notice that those profiles are associated with my primary blog, Vandelay Design.
Some social media users, like me, use their business name, blog name, or real name in their profile or username of social media sites. Some social media sites, like StumbleUpon, also give you the chance to link to your website or blog from your profile page, which is another way of identifying yourself. Other social media users prefer to be anonymous so that their username can’t be traced to them.
Which Approach Should You Use and Why?
The first thing to consider is, do you care if other people know that your profile belongs to you? If you plan to use social media for networking purposes, it’s good to have a profile that’s obviously associated with you and your blog so that others can easily recognize you.
Remember that your actions at social media sites can impact your personal or professional image and branding. What types of items are you submitting and voting up? What comments are you leaving? Who are you associating with? Will these things help or hurt your image?
Personally, I’ve never deliberately chosen a username with the intent of concealing my identity. Ever since I’ve known much at all about social media I have seen the networking and branding benefits as being reason enough to make myself clearly seen. Yes, at some sites such as Design Float you will see a submission linking to vandelaydesign.com that was submitted by the user vandelay. It’s pretty obvious in that case that I submitted something from my own site. At some social media sites I submit my own work, and at others I don’t. I think you need to evaluate the community of each site to decide what’s best. When I do submit my own work I’d rather make it clear that I am doing so, which shows that you’re not trying to hide anything or fool anyone.
In some situations, such as Digg profiles, it can be dangerous to make your identity known if you are in the SEO/SMM business. In this case I would consider an anonymous profile, but in general I prefer to be transparent.
What’s Your Opinion?
How do you feel about the issue? Under what circumstances would you use an anonymous profile?