Thing Three: Consider Your Personal Brand

Posted: May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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When I wrote about this topic for last year’s 23 Things, I spoke about keeping Facebook for (to paraphrase myself) “friends, and colleagues I would go to the pub with” and Twitter for “networking and for friends who like libraries”. Because my Facebook settings are private and my Twitter settings are public, another way of thinking about this is that Twitter is for saying or sharing things that I’m happy for anyone to know about me, whereas Facebook may contain more personal information.

So, I’ll leave Facebook out of this post from now on, since I don’t use it as ‘professional’ tool online. So, that leaves my blogs (including this one), Twitter, LinkedIn plus all the various miscellany on the internet (some posted by me and some not). I am @maniccharlie on Twitter and that’s a name I’ve used across many sites over many years. It may not sound terribly professional but it does display my long-held adoration of the Manic Street Preachers and it does at least have my name in!

Talking of names, I call myself ‘Charlie’ and use that name in day-to-day life both on- and offline. My full name is Charlotte and that is what I have always put on my CV, job applications etc. This does mean, however, that if any prospective employers went to Google me, for instance, they may not find the personal brand I’ve been cultivating! So, recently, I’ve been trying to sneak ‘Charlie’ into job applications and it’s in brackets at the top of my CV too – so that people can make the connection. It sounds obvious but, if you’re going to make a personal brand – make sure people know how to find it.

The final name-based grumble I want to make, is that my name could also be a man’s name. Although all the best Charlies are, of course, female. (Sorry Mr Brooker). Particularly online, it can be hard to tell someone’s gender so I have chosen the same avatar for WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn that clearly shows my face. This also allows people I meet on Twitter to recognise me in real life.

I put my name in DuckDuckGo (reading Phil Bradley’s column in CILIP Update encourages me to try new search engines) to see what came up. Other than the page about a school in Salt Lake City (clearly not me), the top results are all about me and all things I’m happy people to see/know. The Wikipedia page is about a quiz show I was on last year. While not strictly part of my ‘brand’, I mention quizzing as a hobby on my CV and it’s mentioned in my Twitter bio so it’s something I’m happy for people to know about me. It makes a good conversation point too! I was interested to see that my LinkedIn profile didn’t appear on DuckDuckGo – whereas a Google search would have it in the top couple of results.

Thinking about the future – I have taken the ‘back seat’ approach of checking there’s nothing embarassing about me on Google and leaving it at that. What I know I ought to do is to start proactively and strategically leaving a footprint online so that what’s on Google is what I want people to see, not merely what I’m happy with them seeing. That is part of the reason why I joined LinkedIn earlier in the year (when it shows up in search engines, anyway).



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