Buy your domain name: you're not so vain
This weekend I made a tentative start at creating a website for potential clients and those wanting to get just a few free highlights from this 4000 post behemoth of a blog. It's under ewanmcintosh.com and isn't quite finished.
But buying your own domain name is what most educators, with our non-business heads on, would frown upon, or at least look incredulously upon as something only the self-obsessed and ego-centric would do. Wrong. Your dot com is you in the 21st century, and there are two tales to make you think seriously about this.
First, the case of Shel Israel, a dear friend and someone who has helped in his own way to expand the eduBuzz ethos in East Lothian along with the inimitable Rick Segal when they visited us 18 months or so back now. Shel has had his name stolen. Imagine that you arrive at school and, after a few years there, someone comes in wearing a pastiche of you and what you believe in, but their passport says... yup, they are definitely you. YOU don't exist any more. Shel made a big mistake, but one which I was making for two years until I bought my own domain (www.ewanmcintosh.com and .co.uk) in 2006. The difference is, his reputation on being an expert on the web has been dented. Even Robert Scoble's not bought his.
Now, though, comes the other phenomenon of the social web. When you see one of those increasingly annoying posts about the latest app that you must have or your life will be meaningless, what do you do? Ignore it? Sign up? Use it? Well, you'd be well advised to sign up, get your username and then, if you wish, ignore to your heart's content. Loic Le Meur, another leader in the social media domain, has been caught out not because of any obvious errors but due to something a little more suspect. When a new web service was launched it didn't grab him straight away. But it did grab an anonymous net user who, through a grudge to Loic or "just to have a bit of fun" started to slander his reputation virtually by sending inappropriate material to 117 of his contacts who had already 'befriended' their pal Loic. Thankfully, the company in question resolved this, Loic being a headfigure of the new web probably helping a tad. I doubt I would have that priviledge should the same happen to me.
So the lesson, people: buy it now. I use LCN.com, just because I do. Buy your name with dot com, dot co uk (and maybe dot org) from any company you feel is worthwhile, and feel free to say where you think works best in the comments.