It’s 23 Things time again. The task this week is to dredge the internet for references to me, and reflect on what I find. The difficulty I have with my name is, there are a lot of us about.
Starting with just Stephen Jones brings up the usual suspects: the milliner, the rugby player, the TV presenter. But also some unexpected treats, like the author of “Zombie Apocalypse #1” (add to e-reading list).
When I add in “Oxford”, I find a criminologist, a policy consultant, a private-school headmaster and the leader of a free church. Adding in “Oxford University” unearths a geneticist, a sports scientist and a musicologist. Putting “linguistics” onto the end of the search string finally brings up my MPhil class list (as the first item, no less), and this blog at number three. So I am findable, but it needs persistence.
Facebook doesn’t show up. That’s good: I want a degree of separation between my personal and professional lives, and I’m pleased that the privacy settings seem to be working, at least to some extent. But neither does my LinkedIn profile, which is up-to-date and shows my current student status. Until I google with my old organisation, when I pop up at the top of the first page, besuited and smiling. Hmm.
What do I think about all of this? Overall, it’s not surprising and it’s not a problem either. Today is term 1, week 2, Thursday of my return to study. I have no academic products to offer anyone yet. I’m still feeling my way into the subject and deciding where I’d like to specialise. My past is part of why I’m here today, and is informing my approach to the MPhil and academic life more broadly. It’s impossible to airbrush it out, and so I’m relieved that the internet didn’t really take off until my 30s: the on-line footprint that I’m managing is a lot less lurid than it might have been otherwise.
My follow-up actions are straightforward. Think about how I might change LinkedIn to point a bit more towards the future. Set up a profile on academia. And spend most of my time on the MPhil work so that I can shift over time from reflections on process, to reflections on content.
PS – If anyone is able to get a result out of the MIT Personas project, let me know. The introductory pages are really tempting, but all I ever got from the search box was “network error, try reloading ;(“ after a variable search time. This teasing, inconsistent feedback kept me glued to the screen as if it was a Las Vegas slot-machine.