Thing 3: Consider your personal brand
Both my blog and my Twitter name are Kangarooth; somewhat random but vaguely related to my actual name, and not particularly library-related. I joined Twitter yonks ago, and used it for personal, rather than professional, reasons. It was only really when I started as a Graduate Trainee (or around that time) that I started using it more for networking and professional purposes, and by then it was too late for a name change! Oh well, I don’t want to change it since I’ve had it for so long, it might confuse people, and anyway, I like it!
Similarly, when I started this blog, it was just for personal reflection. I actually just called it ‘Ruth’s Blog’ at first, but after reading this excellent post by Sam Wiggins, I decided to change it to match my Twitter handle.
Again, my photo on this blog is the same as my Twitter avatar. My picture for Facebook tends to change reasonably frequently, but I only use Facebook for personal stuff, like sharing stupid links with my sisters. Since Twitter and this blog are both more ‘profersonal’, I made a conscious decision to include the same picture.
It could be improved, as I am quite teeny in the picture, but I think consistency it more important to me than my face being immediately recognisable.
It is, however, a recent photo, so hopefully I will be recognisable in the flesh.
I am keen to keep up a professional identity on Twitter, as it is where I do the majority of networking, but I also inject quite a lot of my personal identity into my presence there too. Looking at my tweets from the last year, I feel it reflects my ‘profersonal’ approach:
There’s nothing really negative there (and it’s unsurprising to see ‘cake’ in there!).
I also think my Twitter bio reflects my mixture of professional and personal use of Twitter. I want people to know a little about me as a person.
This is something that has been on my mind this week, actually. Earlier in the week, I ordered some business cards to take with me to the SLA Annual Conference in July. Ideally I would have liked some cards I could customise; I played around with having the flower banner of my blog as the background. However, these cost a small fortune, and in the end I felt some plain(ish) blue ones, with my contact details and a short snappy sentence about me, would suffice. We’ll see how that goes in July!
I have tried to create consistency in my online presence. The flowers in the banner here are similar to my Twitter background (though I’m not sure how much the latter gets seen).
Vanity check: I just searched for my name in Google. Not all that much came up, so I added ‘library’. This was a bit more relevant:
Hmm, I don’t work at Loughborough University, and my Twitter isn’t @rjlib. Usurper! I had a bit of a snoop, and turns out she did her MA at Sheffield too. Small world!
I knew there was another Ruth Jenkins librarian around, so I wasn’t too surprised. That second result is me, but it’s fairly old, considering I wrote it at the start of my traineeship in 2010. I don’t mind though, as it’s relevant to me as a librarian, and I wouldn’t mind if a potential employer/colleague saw it.
What will I change?
I’ll definitely bear in mind the importance of a consistent visual brand. For example, if I decide to set up a new blog or an account on a new social media, I’ll make sure to link it visually to the rest of my online presence.