When I opened a Twitter account specifically for my library career in 2012, I had no idea what an important role it would play in building my knowledge and connecting me to the library world. At any rate, that is a story for another time. At the time, I needed a user name for my Twitter account, and not being very creative with such things, LibSandy was born.
Later, I opened a Pinterest account; then Instagram caught my attention, and with each one I had a feeling that I should stick with the same handle. When a Hotmail account became so ‘yesterday’, I chose as near to the same user name as was allowed for my new email account.
All the ‘LibSandy’ business was because I did not relish being ‘out there’ in my own name. I could be invisible and interact incognito. Fast forward 5 years – I hear how vital it is to be recognisable and visible for career purposes. Dilemma! I’m visible as LibSandy, not as Sandra Brandt. Enter LinkedIn and About.me! I only recently opened an About.me page in my name, which now appears on my Twitter bio. On the other hand, my LinkedIn profile (several years old already) displays my Twitter user name. After reading the requirements for ‘Thing 3’ I realise that somehow I must make ‘LibSandy’ more visible on my LinkedIn account, so that people can connect the two. The launch of this blog will no doubt help the visibility factor, as well as connect a name to the handle. 🙂
This visibility has me in a quandary. Ideally I would just like to be part of the team, getting on with the job. Not out there and in your face. (I’m one of those individuals – a mix of introvert and extrovert, with neither coming to the fore.)
Hopefully, after this, all talk of names, brands and identities will be done. 🙂
However, while we’re on the subject of personal brands…why is it so important? In her article on building a personal brand, Megan Dalla-Camina states that, what we are known for is as much about how we do what we do, as it is about what we actually do (italics mine). As librarians we can identify with this. We are aware that we are subject to a code of ethics, of professional behaviour. Our social media presence, websites and blogs also need to portray this to reinforce our brand, and to contribute to our trustworthiness.
Another reason is given by the Forbes’ article (I love their daily quotes… :p) The Definitive Guide to Building Your Personal Brand by Jason DeMers…he says it’s important to think of your own bigger goals. None of us are able to tell the future, and the paths we may take. What if that path leads to really great opportunities – to leadership positions, or to starting your own business?
How beleivable will you be? Will you attract investment, either to yourself as an employee, or to your own start-up venture? Megan Dalla-Camina points out that we ALL have a brand, and yet many of us are unaware that we even have one!
So, what is your brand?
Do you know yourself well enough to recognise how you come across to others in your day to day dealings with them, virtual or otherwise?
I noticed this tweet this morning…
#SLA2016 think about what you do know about yourself more importantly what don’t you know. What do you carry into the workplace?
— Siobhán McGuinness (@shivguinn) June 13, 2016
There is loads of advice online, on creating your own brand – the crux of the matter is: know yourself, be true to yourself. Know your goals. Begin there.
Perhaps we’d all like to go along with this advice…
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss
… but it does make us vulnerable. 🙂 As long as the ‘saying what you feel’ part is done in a professional manner and with a thought for others, this may be good advice for branding and for people to get to know the real you.
On a personal level, my short term goal is to complete a decent number of internship hours – my brand plays a role there – to be recognised as trustworthy and responsible. A medium-term goal is to secure a library job, hopefully as a new expat in Australia. In this regard I’m hoping my brand will be recognisable, portraying an up-to-date, professional, service-oriented librarian. Lastly, my long-term goal is to keep working as an Information Professional well beyond normal retirement years. Realistically, my age will work against me, but I am trusting my brand to carry me forward into a possible infopreneurial venture that will allow me to continue earning my keep, God willing.
Branding is hard work; it demands constant mindfulness and continual review as it “shifts and matures” (Reinhold, in Build your Brand) throughout your career. And it needs to be ever present, without being offensive. There are many who say that the effort is worth the reward.
Thanks for spending (virtual) time with me. Hope your day is great.