Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thing 3 - Consider your personal brand #cpd23

Why was thing 3 so scary?

For me, this was the scariest thing on the cpd23 list. I should be better at this, I am surrounded by people who are great at this. I am on the Marketing Advisory Group at work (Chaired by Sharon Tuersley, who speaks at PPRG conferences), I have known Jo Alcock for over 5 years and currently work with her on the CILIP WM committee, Anthony Brewerton is on my librarys' senior management team, I am a member of PPRG.
Marketing myself really should be higher on my personal agenda. It isn't, it feels like work, and it makes me feel like I should revisit the settings on all of my on line accounts and sort them out, link them together properly, unlink them in some cases, separate out all the professional and all the personal, and make it impossible for that unfortunate Saturday night photo to accidentally slip into library land. And that feels complicated and boring - so I didn't want to force myself to have to do it. Partly this bothers me because I like to feel I am good at this stuff, but I know I am not as good as I should be.

Vanity Search: What was I expecting?
I have always identified myself in my professional social networks, generally using the handle Kwiddows (because it reflects my actual name, and surprise surprise, has never been taken by anyone else before I get round to registering an account). However I hide myself fairly well when I am using accounts for personal only communication. For example I limit my Facebook profile quite heavily, so even a lot of my real-life friends can't see much FB content. But more and more things link together, and I have some things linked that I don't remember linking, and some things happening that I don't understand. There is huge potential all over the interwebs for things to get shared in ways they shouldn't get shared.

So while I expected to find myself in a professional capacity, through the blog, twitter account etc, I also half expected to find more personal content as well, things I know I should have better control over. I didn't really want to know what a potential employer might see, and I didn't really want to know how much work I might have to do to improve whatever list of stuff I found.

Vanity Search: what did I find?
So, what is on the first page of hits on my incognito google-myself search?

Well, it's all my stuff that comes up - I suppose "Widdows" is unusual enough, and when you combine it with the the slightly unusual spelling of "Katharine" that my parents blessed me with it's unlikely anyone else is going to come up. And what of mine actually appears?

1. My old chartership blog, which I stopped using in April 2009 - not great
2. This blog - OK - but this blog is looking a little rough around the edges, and I don't update it enough
3. My twitter profile - mostly professional - some randomness - not too bad
4. My linked in profile - a little neglected
5. A case study I wrote for "Infopro" at least 2 years ago which I had forgotten about, and which sadly makes reference to an author picture they evidently haven't used on the web site (should I chase this up because the picture I appear to be referring to is unfortunate?)
6. My google+ profile - with another unfortunate picture, which I really need to change (as much as I like orange monsters)
7. Academia.edu - OK, slightly rubbish profile pic and not much info
8. A broken link to an old Just Giving page from when I did the Great North Run in 2008

So, not great but not bad, I'm actually quite relieved - There is nothing objectionable there, my Facebook profile doesn't come high up in the hits, but some of the stuff is seriously out of date, and the "wrong" blog comes first. Is that important?

How about the look and feel of my profiles?
Well, there is no real consistency. I chose purpley colours for this blog and for my twitter profile because I like purple, I think the effort stopped there. I have recently changed some of my photos, because I have had a string of random ones, including one of me in a giant fake spiders web, one of just my legs, various awful ones of my face, one of me on a small wooden horse and so one.

I don't look great in photos, and I have been tempted to get a couple of professional ones taken, especially when I have written articles and been asked to supply the dreaded author photo. When I started to edit the CILIPWM newsletter a year or so ago and had to stick a picture of my face on the front of every issue I found the least rubbish one I had and used that - and then used that in other places as well (twitter and this blog), just because I was fairly relieved to discover that a not-too-awful picture existed. I have other photos on other profiles - none of them are great.

As for business cards - I don't have any - that's probably quite bad isn't it?

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