I’ll let you into a secret…I nearly forgot to write my blog post this week.
It’s been such a busy week, both professionally and at home, that it very nearly didn’t get written. And there was a food shop involved… with a partner off work for a few days, and a daughter on study leave, you can’t really put off the inevitable trip across the county to fill the car with edibles. But that’s another story.*
Another reason for my last minute bloggy meandering is the virtual business card that is about.me Have you been there yet?
After having my page name for, oh, about a year, I finally decided to dip my toes into this enigma of a site. After being bought back from AOL a year ago, what once seemed – to me anyway – pretty lame, has become quite engaging. When I got my page name it was a bit of a skeleton of a site, not much to see and just another place to park your name in the hope that people might stumble across it at some point. But over the last year the membership has just about trebled and become, almost like Pinterest… but for people, not curtains and cake recipes.
Far from being an online static business card, the site is a way to find people with the same interests, career paths and locations. You can also now engage with each other, and within a week of joining I had a few really interesting connections (and not in the way you connect over at LinkedIn).
One way you can add value to your about.me is to use the apps to hook up your Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Facebook accounts to find connections, I haven’t used this though… I’m still wary about linking everything up (I know, but I’m an oldie who wasn’t born permanently plugged in).
What’s great about the site is the fact that you can immediately see who has looked at your page, read a snippet of their biog then click onto their page if they interest you. There’s no worrying about whether they think you’re just looking for a “connection”, part of the joy of about.me is the amazing artwork and photography that adorns most of the “cards”. With only one page and a short bio, people here seem to make the most of their page, making them visually attractive. (I do say most…at the moment my site has my doodle from my blog post two weeks ago, hardly exciting but it does seem to have raised a few compliments).
Just like Pinterest you have collections, which is really helpful. Collect people for future reference, if you feel you might want to make contact in future… or just because their page is cool – just like how you collect physical business cards. While you are at it, use a neat little feature to let people know you like their page, from “You’re cool” to “Love your page”. And because you can have a “contact me” tab, people can email you directly through the site.
I don’t use my Pinterest site much, as I don’t, at the moment, feel the need to have an online notice-board of more stuff that I’ll never get around to looking at – but an online collection of people that are interesting is a great idea. It’s not like Linkedin where you are bombarded by people just wanting to expand their “connections” just for the hell of it, as number crunchers, and it’s not as feeble as Facebook seems to have become for the business community. I will admit I spend way too much time on Twitter, but I’ve been there a very long time and I like to interact.
The page set up is fairly intuitive, with some nice font options, but it would be nice to be able to move around boxes in the biography area. And this is the only real niggle I have with the site so far. To have an absolutely amazing page though I expect there is a lot of trial and error involved with finding the perfect photo and its placement on the page. Remember this is primarily a visual site… although you find people via the search option, if a page looks boring you may not be inclined to look further than the preview box. And yes, there does seem to be spam floating around. Within two days I was “viewed” by a page offering nudity and “fun”, but it’s not as far as I can see in the league of the Twitter porn spambots of a few years back. There’s also a neat little stats page which shows that in the eleven days since I set my page up I’ve had 1,423 views. Not bad for an investment of about half an hour setting the page up.
Oh, and about.me has a nice little blog, which seems hidden unless you scroll right down to the bottom of the page and see, in teensy tiny writing, the word “blog”. The few pages I read could have done with a proofread first, but I expect it may have been written by an intern with little time to worry about spelling and grammar (haven’t they read my blog? Tut tut).
After almost two weeks on the site I would recommend that anyone who has a business card get themselves an about.me page. If you are a creative I think this is an especially good idea; writers, artists, film-makers, journalists and educators all fit really well here. Although I’m not sure at the moment that I’d use the site to find a local plumber.
So overall there is only one bad thing about this site so far… I have spent quite a while on it, looking at some beautiful pages and reading about some interesting people.**
*There may be typos, there may be bad writing… this weeks wittering comes to you straight from my brain-box to my blog via my keyboard.
**There is another bad point, but one that I can’t get away from… people talking about themselves in the third person. Get real people, it’s your business card…own it.