The importance of an online presence

Posted on 04 August 2012 by Darrell Cobner

On my personal journey through PA, I am slowly overcoming my reluctance to share thoughts and information in the public domain. I initially want to expand on the archival blog by Graham Cobden on tips for gaining experience.

I believe the importance of an online presence/reputation cannot be underestimated. It demonstrates a contribution to the field as a reflective practitioner, which assists employability and can open up opportunities.

Here is a sample of sites to reinforce this viewpoint:

In a competitive field, you need to be aware of mechanisms that alert you to topical discussions in the field and overcome the reluctance to proactively voice your opinions; which differentiate you as an individual. As experienced, current and aspiring analysts, it is critical to at least contribute to the commentaries around articles on platforms relevant to the area. This will build a longitudinal online evidence-based portfolio/reputation to assist your progression onto further PG study, into recruitment and beyond.

Facebook and Twitter are good social networking sites in common vocabulary and daily monitoring, but professional practitioner forums are also maintained within the groups in LinkedIn, such as ‘Performance Analysis in Sport’. This activity leaves a digital trail and growing archive of your maturation through your degree/career.

A new wave of informative blogs has emerged over the last few years, such as A different example of online branding is provided by one of our MSc students at Cardiff Metropolitan University – thevolleyballanalyst. Binh has documented an account of his journey through PA, balancing a personal and professional approach. This account of his journey is not only useful for his own reflection and broadcasting, but also benefits peers, academic staff and practitioners alike. Thanks for providing these sites.

I commend Josh Bryan for creating an authentic platform to propel the PA industry forward. The threefold combination of the generation of 1) outward-facing knowledge transfer through the VPA blog, along with 2) a new closed LinkedIn group for industry practitioners. Excitingly, 3) the ‘members lounge’ concept truly represents a bespoke online community of providence for the active contributors to exchange more exclusive ideas and resources.

The question is: are you a passive observer or an active participant? The concept of a worldwide online community requires people to become the latter. So, when does your online presence become important to you?

At this point, Facebook users should at least ‘like’ this blog as a feedback indicator of the overall VPA site; Twitter users who frequent the site should be ‘re-tweeting’; and ‘comments’ are more than welcome of course. Beyond this point, consider how you could contribute an article e.g. a summary of your dissertation. I refer you back to previous VPA blogging about blogging post and equivalent on Clyde Street for more guidance and reassurance.

I hope this assists catalyse the forum.


17 Comments For This Post

  1. Josh Bryan Says:

    The LinkedIn group is called Visual Performance Analysis. Here is the address:

  2. willoldham Says:

    As a newcomer to the world of performance analysis, the notion of building an online reputation for yourself whilst setting the foundations for an archive of work in the public domain seems a great one. With social media playing an ever increasing role in modern day life, it would be remiss to ignore these clear and readily available opportunities.

  3. Keith Lyons Says:


    I enjoyed reading your post. Just before I received an alert to it I was reading Tom Whitby’s post What is the big deal about blogging?

    He concludes his post thus:
    The computer is the today’s publisher. Computers do not send out rejection letters. If we as educators recognize the position blogging now has and will continue to have in our society, we need to take responsibility for teaching proper use in whatever our academic field of choice. We need to model for the next generations. We need to use the Blog as a tool to connect and communicate. We need to blog in order to openly reflect and challenge. We need to blog for ourselves while opening our ideas to others. For many this is a scary thought, but for many others it is a challenge.

    I do believe that each of us can construct a personal learning environment that extends our comfort zone and extends our proximal development.

    I do think blogging requires confidence and practice. I have had 680 opportunities to write at Clyde Street since 2008.

    Here is Australia The Conversation ( is supporting and encouraging blogging as a way of openly sharing ideas. I think VPA is a catalyst too.

    Thank you for the invitation to consider blogging as one form of digital presence.

    Best wishes


  4. Jon Moore Says:


    This ever-growing presence online, expressing innovation and moulding progressions required, is the growing voice of our industry. Consultancy groups will listen carefully and assist in the development of bespoke solutions for the individual and group needs, ensuring an affordable, sustainable future from top to grassroots.

    Jon Moore

  5. Mike Haines Says:

    I have recently developed my own online presence ( for many of the reasons highlighted by Darrell. Predominantly to develop a portfolio, build a reputation, provide opportunities to network, allow my voice to be heard by the industry and prospective employers, as well as to provide a forum for my own reflection. Darrell’s comments on my post regarding 400m hurdles analysis has already provided me with a great opportunity to reflect on the way I conducted the analysis, consider any issues with it, ways it could be improved etc. So already within 24 hours of going public with my blog I have experienced a fantastic example of the benefits of developing an online presence. I would urge anyone considering it to do so.


  6. wilmeister Says:


    I fully agree with what you said – there is a huge need for this especially to share thoughts and information in the public domain.


  7. Keith Lyons Says:


    I thought this was an interesting example from another vocational group, teacher-librarians

    Best wishes


  8. Darrell Cobner Says:

    There certainly seems to be similar themes to uncover and digest…

    Thanks Keith

  9. Chris Baker Says:

    Very interesting read, thanks Darrell!
    As already mentioned, this idea of creating an online presence is great. Sharing ideas and reflecting in the manner that is so common on this VPA blog is encouraging further development within the field. The notion of creating a name for yourself online to aid employability is particularly interesting. Given that one in five employers use social networking sites to research job candidates (, the contribution you make to online forums and blogs such as these (that can be linked and plugged through these social networking sites) are increasingly more important when it comes to building a reputation and finding work.

  10. Hai-Binh Ly Says:

    I am just happy my blog got mentioned by somebody else other than myself. In relation to sharing ideas, I have written about my thoughts on the matter

  11. Jamie Ensom Says:

    Following the lead of some of my fellow UWIC students I have also decided to create an online presence in the form of blog.

    Although in the early days of creation and development I have already found that I am reflecting on my past experiences and becoming more mindful of the effectiveness of my own practices as a performance analyst. I feel it will be a great platform to share ideas and experiences and I hope it will further enhance my employability.


  12. Darrell Cobner Says:

    A couple of articles to reflect on today which indirectly relate to this blog (branding and experience):

    The first highlighted an importance to have a grounded and diverse breadth and contextual knowledge-base with the processes, tools and software in PA, along with holistic sport science background and possess the transferable skills to migrate between sports.

    Jon Stein states: “The generalist is an idea surfer, riding the waves of various disciplines, synthesizing information to create a unique view of the world. She is polymorphous in thought and flexible in action. She is the person who can handle multiple demands.”

    The second article was an exciting reality check that should actively encourage aspiring analysts who are only lacking the experience of more established practitioners.

    Heidi Halvorson states: “It’s what you could be that makes people sit up and take notice — learn to use the power of potential to your advantage.”

    I wonder if this is true of employers in the small (contradictory to the initial part of this comment) specialist niche of PA?

  13. Darrell Cobner Says:

    Get noticed: Consider contributing to or creating your own blog

    “It’s a social world; time to build a trail of breadcrumbs leading to you.”

  14. Darrell Cobner Says:

    Some useful learning reflections by Ben Jones

  15. Darrell Cobner Says:

    and some lessons shared by Enrico Bertini…

  16. Darrell Cobner Says:

    Time to start rebuilding the site content after the unfortunate loss of data.

    The social network

  17. Darrell Cobner Says:

    I was greeted with a new student blogger this morning. It is encouraging to see how quickly you can be discoverable through taking initial steps to build an online presence. Great to see @JoshBooth1994 has contributed his thoughts and opinions, and has catalysed broadcasted conversation with peers in the same position/stage of their careers.

    This (fragmented) community of practice could be better centred to accumulate the state of the industry, and generate a voice to understand how the performance analysis pathways can mature in the future.


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