Sunday, 20 May 2012

Thing 3 - Considering my personal brand

Quite the debate kicked off on Tuesday regarding brand.  However, I don’t want to dwell too much on what everyone else has been saying.  Three weeks into this project and I am guilty of doing this, becoming preoccupied with a debate and not how I actually feel about it.  I reckon this will pass as I get more confident and chatty on the blogging front, but for now I will just focus on the task in hand: Thing 3 – Personal Brand.

I am apprehensive of the term and concept of personal branding.  I don’t feel like I am a brand and certainly not a fully functional person who can be defined by the tweets I send, the blog posts I attempt (hello!) or the idiotic things I post on Facebook.  (Actually my Facebook is so idiotic it’s STRICTLY personal.)  It is slightly intimidating, as a new professional, to find yourself being judged almost on what you tweet about, how your blog looks or whether or not you can even see your face in your photo.  I am very much in awe of those LIS professionals out there who have a big online presence, or who have honed and impressive knowledge and opinions, or who know where they are or where they want to be.  I am still on a “journey” (HA, sorry couldn’t resist).  I know that there are things I don’t like about the sector I work in (specifically college libraries) but I don’t feel ready to shout about them online.  Because to me at the moment, there is a lot of noise on here and you do have to shout to be heard.

When I decided to do CPD23 Things I knew that I would have to really think about the way I come across online, and what I should and should not do.  I know that I have to stop thinking and start acting, and luckily being on Twitter and starting this blog is letting me do this by tentatively joining in on one massive, long and interesting conversation with many a tangent, tip and picture of cute kittens along the way.

So, when setting up my Twitter profile I just thought it would be easier to use my actual name.  I’m happy for it to be out there and I am quite awful at thinking up usernames for anything.  I used a photo of myself which is pretty old (2008) and is only the side of my face because I don’t think I own any good photos of myself.  Plus this photo was taken in Shibuya, Tokyo so every time I see it I remember that awesome 3 months in Japan.  I also used this photo on this blog for the same reasons, and I suppose it gives a bit of consistency so that people will remember me.

The title of my blog came from my Twitter bio as I thought it formed a nice link.  It is also a cunning reference to my place of work: Corpus Christi, Oxford which has quite a lovely connection to bees, with the founder likening the college to a beehive.  The college does still have a number of beehives too and a related dedication to local eco-friendly schemes.  How civilised. 

If I Google myself, the first few results are not me.  The first few results are other Hilarys on LinkedIn and Facebook, including a one-woman band from the US.  This is cool, but not me.  My Twitter page shows up quite far down the list, as does my very first blog post for the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee blog.  If I then add “library” and search again, the first four results are me!  My Twitter page, followed by the library contacts page from the college’s website, then my Trainee post, and then the Oxford Library Teach Meet where I gave a little presentation last summer (I’m really pleased that showed up).  On the whole, I am pretty happy with these results.  My Facebook doesn't appear immediately which I am glad about because it is not a professional thing at all.  Not that I have anything to hide from prospective employers or colleagues, I just have quite a strict personal Facebook "policy" and will really only be friends with someone on there if we are "real-life" friends, or actually hang-out and interact fairly frequently (online or in person), or are related. Anyway, that was a weird aside, apologies.

As far as the whole “profersonal” thing goes, I hope I am balanced.  That said, I tend not to tweet independently about libraries and issues that often, but will reply to others who do.  I tweet a lot of nonsense with other folk I know, both library and other friends so that side is very much personal.  I think I actually prefer to see a library professional tweet both personal (although, let’s be honest, no one wants intimate) and professional things.  This must just come down to nosiness!  No, really, I like seeing the types of people I share a profession with as often we have similar world viewpoints, things in common, the same typing quirks..  I’m not convinced my blog tells my readers who I am, because it is still very much in its infancy.  Backgrounds and layouts are kind of a side issue for me, I’d rather let my posts tell you all you need to know.  But no doubt one day I’ll want a big ol’ bumble bee banner or something.

1 comment:

  1. Well written. Separating personal and professional online presence in things like twitter seems difficult (and is it really all that necessary if people don't tweet excessive personal info?). I like how you maintain privacy with your facebook account. Good approach :)