23 Things: Thing 3 – My Personal Brand

Exactly the right Thing to kickstart this blog again and beat it into shape. I created this blog as a blog for my library-related musings. Originally, it was intended as a chronicle of my time as a Graduate Trainee. Having finished the traineeship, I found myself entering on an MA in Librarianship, which, on top of working full-time, was so time-consuming I didn’t actually find much time or motivation to blog. There is a degree of irony in that of which I’m well aware.

In any case, here I am again, and here is what I have to say about the personal brand list of things to do.

Name used. I put a lot of thought into what name I should use, and settled on “That Black Book” because “I’m looking for that black/blue/green book…” or similar questions are just so familiar to anyone who works in libraries. Also, if you’ve seen Black Books, it may connect for you there. So I suppose, if you just look at the name, my personal brand is a bit whimsical. Not quite as drastic as Libraries Suck, but along the same lines. I was delighted to find a blog entitled “Have You Checked The Catalogue” in the CPD23 list – clearly, somebody shares my sense of humour.

Photograph. I have a gravatar that’s linked to my email address on WordPress. I use an application photograph of myself for my Twitter account, and I hadn’t used the Gravatar in so long that I’d forgotten what it even looked like. I love that application photo though, so I’ll try and use that for all my professional interactions online.

Professional/personal identity. This is a tough one. I try and keep them separate for most of the time – I have two Twitter accounts, I have a friends-locked personal journal, but the reality is, sometimes these two spheres will touch. And I only have one facebook account, so of course there are things that, strictly speaking, are part of the “personal” side of my life also going on on facebook. The question is where to draw the line though, and that can be hard. But then, there are privacy settings to deal with that, and obviously knowing what to say in which places. I guess this is where the concept of profersonalism comes in. I’m still wrestling with it a bit myself though, and when I set up this blog I made the conscious decision that it was going to be a space for library-related stuff.

Visual branding. Again, this is where I go about revamping my blog and my professional Twitter account, at this point in time, because I’d like them to be consistent. I’m looking into various designs – I think a key point here is just to go out and find some Twitter themes, browse the WordPress theme gallery, and see what appeals to me and what I feel represented by. Knowing me, it’ll be a bit of a journey, but I’m sure I can find something. It’s tricky though, because you can waste hours on just browsing patterns and colour schemes.

Google yourself. This was an interesting experiment. The first two hits are for my XING profile and my Twitter account, some Twitter-related stuff – even some individual tweets, and my GoodReads account. Then you get a link to an essay of mine that I wrote for a website some months ago, making a conscious decision to attach my RL name to it, and then a website from a drama project I did at uni, way back in the day.

All in all, I think that’s an okay result. Nothing incriminating, nothing that says much about me either. You might infer from the individual tweets and the essay that I’m a bit of a geek and a Holmesian, but if you meet me in person, you’ll find that out within the space of about five minutes anyway. And yes, one of them is a bit cringeworthy, and it’s only on there because I used FriendFeed – a service I tried out for a bit but abandoneed. But apparently it stores my tweets, even those I deleted, so I deleted my FF account for good. Bit of housekeeping never did anyone any harm anyway :)

My blog, alas, doesn’t come up, which is because I’ve neglected it for so long, so the lesson I get from the Googling Yourself experiment is probably that I need to make my mark in the online world of the LIS profession a bit more. And be mindful of which accounts I use for tweeting about what.

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About thatblackbook

I am a library assistant at a library in the South of England. I am also a student on the MA LIS distance-learning programme at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. This odd combination arises out of the fact that I am German by birth, but European by nature. I tweet and blog about library-related things that interest me, such as libraries and web 2.0 technoliges, information literacy and user education, and of course, my MA LIS course.

Posted on July 19, 2011, in Professional Matters and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It’s quite a difficult balancing act to get the professional/personal identity balance right, because there seems to be an expectation that librarians (in academic libraries at any rate) should portray themselves as quirky or even zany. I think this is a reaction to the stereotype of librarians as very boring/bookish recluses, so that part of showing ‘libraries are exciting’ is showing ‘librarians are exciting’. The problem is with how many of your personal enthusiasms you can reveal before you are in danger of straying over the border and being considered as ‘strange’. And there’s sometimes a certain amount of hypocrisy about what are considered as subjects you’re allowed to get enthusiastic about and what you’re not, just as it’s acceptable for an academic to spend their time reading Victorian sensation literature, but not modern sensation literature. But good luck in trying to get the right ‘brand’.

  2. I love the ‘That Black Book’ title – both the ‘I want that book, you know, the red one…’ allusion and the ‘Black Books’ homage. It’s a bit whimsical, but in a good way.

  3. Magistra’s point is really excellent – yes, I think we are all at risk of trying to be ‘the right sort of zany’. Sadly, I mostly just fit that stereotype without trying.

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