My old (well he’s not old, but our friendship is) friend Thomas wrote a great piece in response to a question about why he still blogs in 2015 given that we have tools such as Facebook, Twitter etc to make our points.
What he says is not only applicable to academics, but also to non-profits, religious orgs, and for profit companies. Whether we like to grapple with the issue, you or your company or your group or your church has a “brand” that is being perceived by those who come into contact with you. Being aware of that is crucial.
You should be thinking of these things if you or your group wants to participate on the internet (beyond a Facebook page):
Related to this is the larger idea of controlling my “brand.” Though many academics have resisted the move toward “branding,” it has long been a part of academia. One’s credentials, what they’ve written, and where they’ve taught make up their brand and determine, to a large extent, who reads them, who assigns them, and who thinks of them for panel invitations and professional society nominations. Branding has only become more important with the ubiquity of information readily available on the internet. It is important for me, as an academic in general but also as someone on the job market, that when someone searches for me on the internet, they find me and find what I want them to find about me (namely, my website, my work for other outlets, etc.). Moreover, as I think about my personal brand, it forces me to think about where my priorities are and what impression I want people to get of me. This is, of course, no different than how we should be thinking even sans internet (the same thinking goes into job application materials, for instance).