Personal Websites: why they matter
Why realizing an accurate and truthful personal website may be an important early career step, and some advice on how to proceed.
Participation is the key word of the world wide web: the web is full of blogs, chat-rooms, websites open to third part comments, social networks etc. Participating to these sites with informed and controlled comments is beneficial to the web and to society at large. Indeed every cultivated person in the society should be invited to contribute honest and informed content to balance the excess of hate speech, misinformation and fraud that plagues the web and impairs its potential of diffusing information and promoting culture.
Many websites to which scientists may participate ask or allow one to register with his/her own personal webpage; the personal webpage is then linked to the name or nickname and readers can access this resource with a click. Thus, three pieces of advice for young scientists may be: (i) participate to public websites whenever you feel that your contribution may enrich the discussion and be useful to the readers; (ii) do not use fanciful nicknames: register with your name and surname; and (iii) link to your name your personal webpage.
What should your personal webpage contain? People who read your comments will click on your webpage to assess your credentials, and to verify how your personal achievements lend support to your opinion. Thus your webpage should include a presentation of your research interest, and links to your scientific publications. Better still you may try to explain your publications to lay readers and to promote scientific awareness on the subjects of your research. Always consider that your personal webpage should present your research, achievements, and interests to both lay people and colleagues, because all of them may click on your nickname: consider your personal website as your electronic calling card. If necessary, have two or more personal webpages, linked to each other, and possibly on the same host. As to the language, consider having a page in your native language (or the language of the websites your are most likely to participate) and one in english.
Unfortunately my personal website may not be a good example: alas, I am not a young scientist any more, and I always try to present and promote activities I did for the Italian Society of Biochemistry over several years. Thus I use a webpage I created for the Society rather than for myself. Moreover, given the nature of these activities, most of the website is in Italian. However, you are most welcome to visit: