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:
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?
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!
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…
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!
This Thing was far more time-consuming than expected and has taken up quite a few lunchtimes! The brief was to look at the blogs of some other CPD23 participants, and leave a few comments. As there’s now over 600 people taking part there’s no hope of looking at them all, so I used searching and tagging on the Delicious list to explore based on sector, country, blogs with musical names (though not necessarily musical content!) and names that jumped out at me from the list.
After a lot of browsing around, I’ve subscribed to the blogs below – may well add to this list as time goes on. I deliberately added blogs new to me, rather than ones I already subscribe to or read regularly!
By the way thanks everyone who left comments on my first post. I found comment trails on my blog and others were another helpful way to find participants.