Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CPD 23 Thing 3: Personal Branding

This post is part of the  CPD 23 Things Programme.

Developing a personal brand or identity has always been extremely difficult for me. I tend to want to hide in the background, rather than putting myself forward. I also have a broad range of eclectic interests, and find it hard to narrow my focus. Personal branding is all about identity. This is especially important when developing an on-line presence through which you can be recognised and summarised, as it were. How do you sum up a librarian-in-training/biologist/interested in art and philosophy/cyclist/hiker/bibliophile/classical music afficionado-but also likes jazz and punk/occasional bellydancer? Probably as quirky!

A Google search for my name will bring up many results, including a glamour model and an astrophysicist, so extra search terms are necessary, such as "algae" (which brings up my biological research, Masters thesis on the elusive and wonderful Batrachospermum pseudogelatinosum and former lab web page at Ohio University) and "librarian" which actually brings up a childrens book about libraries written by another Sarah Stewart (I will have to look for this one - it looks interesting!). Luckily, it also seems to bring up the Theology Faculty Library website and my articles that I wrote for the Oxford Graduate Library Trainee blog whilst still a trainee last year. I will have to tweak my search engine optimisation in the meantime, and also gear my LinkedIn profile towards my library work now that I have gained more professional experience as a Library Assistant.

I realise that having a consistent personal brand is very important, and will certainly bring more brand recognition  in terms of maintaining a professional image on-line. Certainly, Ned Potter (AKA: the Real Wikiman) has done this with his fabulous and insightful blog. His images and even his website layout provide a consistent and recognizable framework which link all of his social media into a unified whole, providing a strong professional image on-line.

I will probably have to do a lot of tweaking in the near future, once I have a better idea where I will go in terms of my own career path. I have a bit of discrepancy at present, as I originally set up my Twitter account to tweet science-related news items whilst a trainee at the Radcliffe Science Library, but now that I work in the Theology Faculty Library, this seems irrelevant (although I am still very much interested in science and science subject librarianship, my tweets have generally fallen off, and I am using my twitter feed primarily to follow news in science and libraries). My name and photo on Twitter provide a good reference to my profile as a librarian, however, but I am currently tweaking my "apps" so that they are better "intertwingled" and therefore able to provide a stronger on-line presence. One of the problems that I have with social media like Twitter is that it is very easy to mix both the "professional" and "social" worlds. Of course, neither is mutually exclusive. Much professional activity involves networking, which, by its very nature, must be social.

Hence, the need for a strong, unified and professional on-line presence, created through a personal brand. 

1 comment: