Thursday, May 17, 2012

cpd23 - Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

Ooh, I like this Thing, because I've actually kind of been consciously working on this for a while now anyway!

  • Name Used - I tend to choose the same user name for all the things I join or sign up on. I like to be consistent, make myself easier for others to find me between different mediums, and, frankly, I prefer to follow the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. (I'm referring to myself as "stupid", not you, Dear Reader.) I sign up for everything using a phonetic spelling of my first name and last initial: trayceetee. That is, Tracy T. It came from a combination of two friends' indirect suggestions. Once, I e-mailed one friend (back when I had first began using e-mail, in about '96 or so), and I accidentally signed my name Trayc. We both got a giggle out of it, and then I started signing my name that way on purpose. I would tell people, "You can look at it as a phonetic spelling of my name--tray-see--or you can view it as the shortened version of my name--trace. Another friend began online journaling (I don't think they were calling the sites "blogs" just yet), and I began doing so as well... We'd read each other's entries, but they were pretty much private to most other folks. Anyway, she chose her first name, middle name, and last initial for her user name... but she spelled them phonetically: Jodi Lee B. became "jodeeleebee". I loved it! My new user name was born: trayceetee
  • Photograph Used - I'm not 100% consistent with this one. I have two or three actual photographs I use between most venues, and then I also have an animated photo of me that I use for some venues, as well. For my Blogster account, I've got an old family photo that I use--we took a new one around Christmas, so I really need to update that! I'm not so much concerned about sharing what my family looks like with other cpd23 users (not that I want to hide, either), but I have another, personal blog that I  share with members of my family, so the family photo is for their benefit. 
  • Professional/personal identity - Once I began taking courses in Library Science, almost three years ago, I began to tidy up my visible profile. In my very first class, we read a book and discussed our digital footprint. It's creepy, if you think about it, how much information about us is 'out there,' especially if you're younger ('born digital' was the term used). I would have to say I use the "profersonal" approach (cool word!). I'm trying to be careful what goes out there, but I can also say, at least with respect to e-mails, I've had to learn the hard way that once something is sent, it can't be taken back. 
  • Visual brand - This is tougher for me, because I really enjoy playing around and changing things up. I'm frequently changing the backgrounds of my blogs, browsers, Twitter page, etc. I know there are folks that change these types of things around far more often than I do, which makes me feel better; I'm also happy in the knowledge that I don't go with a plain white background and never touch it up. I let the mood move me at will.....
Name check on Google: I actually do this every two or three months. I just started within the past year or so, but I've found it's a great way to keep tabs on what I have floating around "out there". The funny thing is, my husband's cousin has the same exact name as me. She's been married before, but she's no longer married and she resumed using her maiden name. Although her first name is actually Theresa, she's gone by Tracy since childhood. And we have the same middle name! So when I plug my name into Google, all this stuff about her is mixed in with stuff about me. She's set a great example for me, in sort of a bad way, because she apparently did some customer service support for whatever company she works for, and someone posted complaints about her on that company's website.... Those complaints (there are two or three over a period of about six months) are the first things to pop up.... Lucky for me, the name of the company and the location are both in the forefront of those complaints, and I've neither worked for that company, nor have I lived in that city or state. We both have LinkedIn profiles (I do have a picture of myself on mine, so that helps, I think--she doesn't have a photo on hers); we both have Twitter accounts, though our nicknames are wildly different; and we both have Facebook accounts, using our first and last names, but I've got my maiden name listed parenthetically, as well. 
I have gone out and cleaned up a few things from time to time. I wouldn't say I had anything inappropriate out there, but I don't necessarily need my old MySpace profile to still be live, or my song requests on my favorite local band's website to be listed, etc. 
This does remind me, though, that I want to set a reminder for myself to do this again in three months. Great activity!

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