Jo's Web Wizardry

Jo Atherton

It’s a new academic year and a great time to revisit your Gallery page on the Herts Visual Arts website. So sharpen your pencils, open that new exercise book and get ready to examine your digital footprint.

The term digital footprint relates to the trail, traces or footprints that people leave online. When you type your name into Google, what appears on the first page of results? It’s likely the links will include your own website, social network profiles (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) and any other websites which include your name, like your Herts Visual Arts gallery page.

There’s software out there which can ‘clean’ your footprint, such as www.socioclean.com. Despite sounding like an advert for eugenics, it claims to ‘understand and protect your social reputation’ by scanning, cleaning and securing your social network content. You can also set up a Google Alert, a handy way of receiving an email update of the latest relevant results (web, news, etc.) based on your own name.

Where all of this may sound slightly paranoid, a 2009 survey completed by CareerBuilder.com found that 45% of employers acknowledged that they used social networking sites for screening candidates. This trend will only increase so it’s well worth keeping an eye on your footprint.

As artists, it’s equally important to make sure your artist statement, images of your work and current CV are up to date. Think of your online reputation as your shop front - it’s so important to be displaying the very best of your work, not old images from the start of your creative journey.

So with the kids back at school and the wind howling outside, now is the perfect time to consider your Gallery page on the Herts Visual arts website - you might be surprised how your work has evolved and the direction it has taken you over the past year.

You may find the following pointers a useful starting point when refreshing your profile:

Consider the work you’ve produced over the past few months - are you still working along similar themes, or are you you heading in a new direction? This is a good opportunity to select images of your recent work.

  • Have you been involved in many exhibitions or events in the past year? Does your work feature in any local galleries?
  • Did you take part in Open Studios?  How has this feedback shaped your work? Did it prompt any new lines of thought you’ll be exploring?
  • Don’t forget the value of linking to your own website, image on Flickr, LinkedIn profile, etc. which will bring the reciprocal benefit of improving your search engine ranking.

There’s plenty of good advice online when it comes to writing your artist statement, so grab a coffee and take the time to do a little research.

We’ve put together a useful video to help you update your Gallery page, and be sure to check out our handy tips on selecting the images for this page.

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