CPD23 Thing 3: branding

I can’t profess to spending as much time as Jo considering personal brands and the like, but it is something that interests me – marketing is part of my library role and something I feel I could be much better at.

As suggested, I tried Googling myself. Both my forename and (married) surname are very unusual, so my full name is nearly unique, which can be both a blessing and a curse! The results are the same whether or not I’m logged in to Google: 9 of the first 10 results are me. They’re mostly things I’m happy to see there (LinkedIn top, with Twitter high up and a journal article I wrote several years ago close behind). The page about me on my wedding website is second (a tribute to my husband’s excellent HTML-writing skills), and weirdly my profile on an environmental community site which I barely use is also highly ranked!

My blog isn’t there, which doesn’t surprise me as I felt funny about putting my full name on it for a while. I’m over that now, but I do think I consider this issue more than most due to my unusual name. I still often use Edith S (e.g. on Twitter, blogs and Google+) to be a little less easy to find, but perhaps I’m being needlessly paranoid. To my surprise 192.com claims to know 4 Edith Spellers in the UK, none of whom is me, so there’s at least four more around than I realised!

Incidentally I tried searching for myself in Bing as well. I preferred the Google results, but on the plus side Bing alerted me to something I didn’t really want to be public (a wishlist I’d made for myself of possible home furnishing purchases) so I’ve sorted that out now.

To consider Jo’s aspects of a personal brand in turn:

Name used

I’m not consistent with my ID across different platforms. Weelassie used to be my standard username so I have that on Delicious and a few other sites, but when it came to Twitter that was taken so I ended up as Wiilassie. I think that name implies that I’m a) Scottish, b) female and c) like Nintendo – all true but not important aspects of my professional persona! I’ve previously considered the upheaval of changing Twitter username but can’t think of a new one I like. Espeller, multifacet and multifaceted are taken but frustratingly dormant; edith and ediths are taken by Dutch Ediths; edithspeller is available but too long? My blog title, Multi-faceted, is different again. I like the name which I chose because a) I wanted to write about several facets of librarianship, and b) I’m a fan of Ranganathan’s facets :)

What do you think about wiilassie as a username? Does my lack of consistency matter?

Photograph

My standard avatar at present is a photo that’s approx 2 years old, and is very close-up on my face. My glasses are prominent and, having worn specs since I was 5, they’re a big bit of my persona. Maybe it’s a bit intimidatingly close-up though?

On Twitter I changed my avatar six months ago to a sunset photo I’d taken: I like it because it’s tranquil, but it doesn’t help people recognise me which the previous avatar did. I’m not a fan of changing avatar all the time because it weakens people’s recognition of  you.

Another avatar which I use sometimes (e.g. on my blog and blog comments) is me with a librarian t-shirt and a magnifying glass, taken at a fancy dress party many years ago. I really ought to retire that one!

Professional/personal identity

I take a similar view to Jo, that it’s impossible to maintain a purely professional persona online unless you maintain two (or more) profiles, something which I don’t think is worthwhile and is anyway prone to error. Something I do struggle with is how much of my personal life/views to expose on public sites, e.g. Twitter. Things like political views can be quite controversial but are part of me and not something I want to hide. I’ve been formulating a blog post on this in my head for a while, so more may follow…

Visual brand

I don’t think I have a visual brand. I like purple and blue, hence the blog colour scheme (when setting the blog up a couple of years ago, I chose a template which allowed custom colours), and I use a default scheme on Twitter (though I think people only look at that when first deciding to add me). Maybe something I should think about, especially if I do ever produce my own business cards. My organisation used to provide business cards but no longer, and I had to throw my old ones away after the institution rebranded and retitled itself, changing my email address in the process!

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Posted in CPD. Tags: . 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “CPD23 Thing 3: branding”

  1. Jo Alcock Says:

    I really like your close up avatar. I don’t think it’s too in your face, and it’s a great photo of you. I am used to your sunset on Twitter now though, and totally agree with you about not changing photo often. I agonised for ages before changing my avatar, but so many people I met said I no longer look like my photo. I still need to change it on my main blog though.

    I like wiilassie too – for each of the identifying features you mention. From a branding perspective, it isn’t ideal to have totally different names on different services, but as long as they are linked to each other then it’s not so bad.

    And yes, get yourself some cards made up – definitely worth having some interesting business cards to exchange at events.

    • Edith Says:

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for the positive feedback! Going on other people’s CPD23 blog posts I have a common issue – it’s not often that I’m happy enough with a picture of me to use it everywhere and so have to see it all the time. Next time I get a good one I might update my profiles with it, but will stick with the current combo of self-portrait/sunset for now.

      Good point about business cards at events – I’m going to a conference in just over a week; wonder if I can get something turned around by then…

  2. Helen Saunders Says:

    I really like wiilassie as your Twitter handle – it’s witty and conveys the things you mention, and you are already well known by it. I’d keep it!

    • Edith Says:

      Thanks Helen – it’s reassuring to get positive feedback on the Twitter name from both you and Jo, so I won’t worry about changing it :)


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