I first started considering my online personal brand about a year ago after I attended the CILIP New Professionals Information Day in 2010. During a presentation at the event, Phil Bradley emphasised the importance of googling yourself from time to time in order to ensure that your internet presence was one which represented you in a favourable light, particularly from an employer’s perspective.
Fortunately for me, up until very recently I had always used pseudonyms when communicating with others via the internet, which meant that there was no embarrassing online history to dig up when I googled my real name. I am doubly lucky because I have a fairly unusual name, and so my Twitter profile is the first link that comes up when I do a search for myself, and the first Google image is also of me.
It is only since I embarked on a career in librarianship that I made the decision to ‘come out’ on the internet as my real self. My reason for doing this is so that I can communicate with other librarians all over the UK (and beyond) and begin to develop a professional network both on and offline.
This is the reason that I used my real name as my Twitter ID and chose a recent photograph of myself as my avatar. I have to admit that after all those years of anonymity, this was quite a scary experience! But it has been worth it because now when I go to conferences and other events, people recognise me and this is a great icebreaker.
However, I obviously couldn’t quite let go of the pseudonyms completely as I initially decided to start my ‘Neon Librarian’ blog anonymously. One of my reasons for doing this was because I was new to blogging and I wanted to be able to make mistakes without the pressure of everyone knowing that it was me who had made them. However, as my confidence with blogging has grown, I have added a link from my blog to my Twitter profile and vice versa, so that it’s clear that the blog belongs to me.
The problem I have discovered is that Google doesn’t yet recognise ‘Jennifer Yellin’ and ‘Neon Librarian’ as being the same person, which means that my blog isn’t immediately discoverable by any curious employers who may be googling me. However, for me this isn’t an incentive to change my blog title. I think that the fact that my blog has a quirky title potentially encourages people to read it, and the name ‘Neon Librarian’ also allows me to express a little bit of my personality, which I think is important when creating an internet identity for yourself – even a professional one. I think that showing your personality online means that other people will potentially find it easier to connect and communicate with you, and this can only be a positive thing.
I think that one aspect of my online brand which could possibly do with improvement is my lack of consistency in terms of the images and colours which I use to represent myself. For example: on my blog background I have neon books, but on my Twitter profile page I have yellow flowers.
However, I’m not sure how important this really is in terms of the overall impression that I create online, or whether it is something that I should think about changing. I would welcome other people’s opinions on this! I would also be interested to hear people’s thoughts on my blog theme. Is it ‘professional enough’? Does it create a positive impression of me as an individual? Is it too bright? 🙂
Any feedback is welcome!