Ok, so I’m going to work on this section over this weekend as I have a 1/2 day Monday and won’t have time to write. I’ll read the recommended readings this week … and I’ll comment here. Or maybe not! Let’s see how it works out.
Name used – do you have a nickname that you use in a professional or personal capacity? When I started my online life back in … I forget … I chose yrinsyde as my pen-name. I liked it because it is the old spelling of a family name. And I’ve been using it ever since. It is unusual and fits in with my interest in mediaeval history. However, I use my real name in forums such as this. If you notice, I post as Catherine Voutier although my sign-in name is yrinsyde. Anything remotely professional has my real name attached because I want it to be attributed to me and be traceable.
Photograph – do you want people you network with online to recognise you when you meet face to face? Yes! The photo I am currently using was taken in 2009 when I was in Singapore with my husband. I am getting increasingly comfortable with using photos of myself when networking online. I have a photo of myself (diff pic but taken during the same trip) on LinkedIn.
Professional/personal identity – do you want to merge the two or do you prefer to keep them separate? I prefer to keep my personal online life and my professional online life separate. Some of my friends are in the industry and so there is a little bit of a mix of professional with personal.
Visual brand – one of the easiest ways to distinguish a brand for yourself is with a clear visual identity. I don’t think I have a visual brand … I do design my professional online presence in a certain way, but I’d really have to think about this one. Is a strong visual brand necessary for professional individuals? Is it more of a style that carries over from real life to online?
Google ego search: Do any of the search results on the first page refer to you personally?
All the results in the first page are mine. The first is my LinkedIn profile, and there is my Facebook profile, my Twitter account (very odd I think as I have only used this service about 5 times since I joined up when it started), and a link to this blog! I clicked along to the third page and found a bio of me on the HTAi 2012 website – and it is wrong!! Thank goodness I did this activity! I’ll get onto this Monday. I also found out that I’m a member of the International Scientific Programme Committee (first I’ve heard of this but maybe I’m in this group because I’m Chair of the Information Resources Group). On the third page there is one name mention that isn’t me – a person with a similar name working for a European auction house. Are they the things you would want someone to find if they were looking to find out information about you? There are some things I signed up to which I haven’t contributed anything to yet and this could be problematic for me … What do think? Is there anything about you on the results page that you wouldn’t want a potential colleague/employer finding out about you? Not really – and that is good. Years ago there was an interview I did for a disability group before I established my professional id and knew as much about information as I do now. There were some things there that I regretted. The interview itself was done many years ago and was now irrelevant, but it kept on coming up early in search results. I emailed the organisation asking them to take it down. Obviously it was sitting on a server that the organisation no longer used or had control over and it was online for ages. I’m really glad to see it gone. This issue is something people should think carefully about.
Optional extra activity
So what does this blog say about my personal brand or style? What about the Google results that come up when you search my name? I’d like to know your thoughts!
The Practical Librarian – Manage your brand as a librarian
Andromeda Yelton – Personal Branding for New Librarians
LibWig – What’s In A Name?
Georgina Hardy – Judging a blog by its cover
Danah Boyd – Controlling your public appearance
Dave Fleet – How to ruin (or build) your personal brand
Update: I’ve read all these posts and some points really resonated with me.
a) Your personal brand is your reputation, your profile, how you are in the world both offline and on.
b) Facebook profiles are automatically accessible via the web so you need to go in to the Privacy settings to restrict access! I didn’t realise this so will fix that this evening. As I mentioned above, I prefer keeping my personal and professional lives separate.
c) Google cache takes a long time to refresh. If there is wrong information out there about you or if there was something embarressing that you wrote or said that has been deleted, it might take awhile before it will disappear from the cache. Maybe that’s what happend with my disability adventure.
The lesson from these readings? Be present online but be careful with yourself. You wouldn’t cross a busy road blindfold would you?