Many of us don’t think of ourselves as a brand, but that’s exactly what we are.
Every day the way you present yourself, how you look, what you say in the world and the information you disseminate about yourself online are all part of the brand you are creating for yourself and putting out there into the world.
Thanks to amazing tools like Facebook and Twitter, we have the opportunity to build an online brand very quickly and easily. Every time you twitter, update your status or post pictures, you are further creating your personal brand.
I recently visited this Personas website to find out how the world sees me online. According to the information it spat out, I’m all about online, sports, education, management, family and news. Based on my interests and what I search for online, I’d say that’s right on the money.
Personas is currently on show at an exhibit at MIT, the philosophy behind it is “meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.”
Your online presence and persona is becoming just as important as how you present yourself in person. So based on what you’ve put out there about yourself on the Internet, how do others see your personal brand?
I’m becoming much more cognoscente that in the online world I can’t control all of what people read, know and learn about me. I feel it’s important to maintain my personal integrity and core values online as much as it is offline. My personal take is that you should never be anyone but your true authentic self. As some wise person once said,
`Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’.
That said not everyone will like the real `online’ you as I recently found out the hard way. It’s all too easy to cross the line between what you think you’re saying and how it’s received. People won’t always read what you write in the context that it was meant to be delivered because they can’t see your face or hear the intonation in your voice.
Social networking has changed the rules of etiquette forever and I think we’re only just learning how to conduct ourselves properly online. It’s blurred the line between appropriate use of these tools and using them for shameless self or business promotion. My friends have kept me in check when I’ve done the latter!
I’ve had to rethink my strategy of how I manage my personal and professional brand. How I keep connected with true friends whilst maintaining useful relationship with business contacts. How I tell people what I’m passionate about without selling it to them in my over-enthusiasm.
It seems I’m not alone in my examining of this topic. According to an entertaining blog post about ‘online manners’ by Girls in Tech, an online search for `tech etiquette’ produces results for more than 6 million articles.
That’s why they’re hosting an event on September 28th in Santa Monica, California to discuss `How Much Can You Say Online & Not Tarnish Your Brand’. Check it out if you’re in the area.
What experiences have you had in managing your personal and professional brand in the online world?