Monday, 27 June 2011

Thing 3 - Personal branding

Thing 3 for CPD23 is about personal branding. Nowadays it seems like everyone is selling themselves individually: the job market is such that few people feel tied to organisations beyond their contractual obligations and so are ‘working for themselves’ even when in a nice full-time job role.

Jo’s post about Thing 3 uses the word ‘profersonal’ which is the perfect word that I never knew to describe my approach to my Web persona. I’ve never been particularly concerned with ‘hiding’ aspects of my life or my personality so in general I’m very open on this blog, on Twitter, and in person. There are some restrictions imposed by my job which is why I usually tweet and blog about library advocacy and digital libraries rather than military librarianship. The personality I project through these various mediums is probably a melange of the personal and the professional: this may be because I see no distinction and of course sometimes worry that libraries have taken over my whole life!

Delivering a workshop to eager new professionals.
One of the tasks for Thing 3 is to Google yourself and, I’ll be honest, I’ve done this before. I’m somewhat proud of how I’ve pushed myself up the Google rankings over the past year and personally it provides a tangible record that I am achieving something sitting in front of the computer for hours: my Dad may not ‘get’ personal branding and social networking and stuff but being the top Google result for my name is something he can understand and point to as an achievement of his son. Primarily thanks to The Guardian, the first 5 results for ‘simon barron’ are me and 6 out of the 10 results on the first page are me. I’m a little disappointed that my blog is the 20th result: I see it as a hub of my online presence and so wish it were a little higher. The answer may be to change the name or at least the tagline, both of which I’ve stubbornly refused to do in the past.

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to extend my personal brand. I’ve been very jealous of Lauren Smith’s unique visual style that she extends to her work: the olde-timey cartoon bookshelves that form the background of her blog which she uses in a load of other ways in her various projects (she's written about this visual style here). My blog doesn’t have much of a visual style (it’s purposefully minimal) but lately I have been using the cloudy-blotchy-grey background as headers and footers on conference proposals and cover letters. It’s a start but I really need to work on some graphic that represents me (see Jo Alcock’s penguin, Ned Potter’s wiki-man logo). I was also impressed with Katie Birkwood’s redesign of her blog and I’d like to add some ‘about’-type pages to my own at some point.

As a start, I’ve changed the picture on the left of this blog and on my LinkedIn profile using one of the excellent pictures from Sarah Ison’s photos of the New Professionals Conference. This exercise has made me realise that aside from my name and the whole XIX thing, there’s nothing much that is memorable about my online presence and this is something I clearly need to work on.

1 comment:

Helen Ceridwen said...

Just for fun, I Googled you and your blog came up much higher than that on the list (8th)!