Monday, 21 May 2012

I'm a brand? Really?

Well, I'm already a week behind on cpd23 due to being on holiday last week, although I have to admit I wasn't looking forward too much to thing 3 as I find the idea of my personal brand to be quite uncomfortable. Like many people I suppose I worry about mixing my personal online presence with my professional one, and in fact my personal inclination is to try and limit my exposure to, well, anyone I don't know. Luckily (well, perhaps) there is a Carly Sharples who is a Conservative politician with a very heavy online presence, so if you Google my name, you get an awful lot of results about her, and I fade delightfully into the background.

My Twitter feed is my first result (my name is @carlysharples - got in there before Miss Conservative lady clearly, hehehe), and I suppose my twitter feed, while personal, is a fair reflection of myself, my views and my interests. There's a fair number of library tweets on there that's for sure!

And what next? Oh yes, the YouTube video of myself I was required to make for work, designed to be shown to off-site and partner college students so they have a fair idea of what I look like and what I do.

I have no webpage, no LinkedIn, Facebook is not visible to anyone other than my very close friends....So I am a half hidden tweeting librarian who may, at first glance appear to be a Tory (I am not!) Definitely food for thought there I think. Delving a bit deeper and more sensibly, if you add 'Worcester' into the search you get a lovely handful of relevant results, all linked back to my work as a librarian at the University of Worcester (including a category for 'Liaison Librarians' on Zomobo...interesting!

So, after a week of considering this, what conclusions have I come to?

  • Branding and selling clearly aren't the same thing, but I feel like they are. Like many other people across all professions I imagine, I find the idea of constantly having to advocate for myself and my profession exhausting, but no one else is going to do my shouting for me, and developing a consistent online presence is something simple I can control.
  • I am actually pretty pleased with my online presence - I want to be discovered in my professional capacity, not my personal one.
  • I could do a lot more - for example, using the name 51st Century Librarian for this blog links in no way to any other aspect of my online presence, and unsurprisingly doesn't appear when I Google myself. My Twitter feed isn't personalised really, and I make no real attempt to have an online professional presence that is distinct from my employment. 
Just like starting this blog, I feel trepidation about 'owning' my brand online over and above the way I'm presented through my employment. But is that all I am? Or is there more to me? I guess you'll just have to watch this space...

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about wanting your professional identity known but not you private one. I used Twitter for the first time today and viewing it from a professional perspective I have seen it in a different way.

    I, like you, have to work hard to advocate my profession and it is very hard to 'own' your own brand and it does feel like selling rather than branding!

    Nice to hear your updates to to know that other people are facing similar challenges!