CPD23 Thing 3: Consider Your Personal Brand

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.

Google screenshot

My Google search results

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.

Twitter screenshot

My Twitter profile

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!

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12 Responses to CPD23 Thing 3: Consider Your Personal Brand

  1. StEvelin says:

    Definitely not too bright. I think it’s a great background. It’s a neat, ‘professional’ look that certainly makes a good impression, and I don’t think it really matters that it’s not the same design as your Twitter profile. The thing with Twitter is that once people are following you, they’re not likely to see your Twitter page much anyway, so I’d say it’s more important that you yourself like your Twitter background than that it’s consistent with anything else.

  2. booksNyarn says:

    I love your theme! I am an advocate of showing some of your own personality, even with a professional blog. I still have my online pseudonym for Twitter and other areas, however I have created enough of an online presence that I have also phased in my real name and photo into places where I have professional contact also.

  3. I love your avatar photo — it’s the reason I clicked on your cpd23 link in Twitter. The Neon Librarian is a terrific identity and goes with your hair and blog background. I think someday you might want to change your Twitter background but since most people see it only once (we’re all looking at TweetDeck or own backgrounds most of the time), I’m not sure it matters that much.

    The only disadvantage I can see to this identity is that you may one day decide you’re bored with the purple hair. But it seems to me that you can keep a neon personality no matter what your hair color, so this identity could fit for a very long career if you wanted it to.

    If you decide that you’re comfortable having your name associated with your blog, you can get that to show up in Google in a matter of weeks just by putting it on your about page and on your sidebar. A signature helps, too. I sometimes “sign” my posts with a purple Joy that has an alternate text of Joy Weese Moll and that has helped my findability.

    • Thanks Joy for those Google tips, that’s actually really useful – I’m going to go and try some of those things now! You could be right about the purple hair – I may get tired of it one day. However, I’ve only had purple, pink, red and blue so far in my hair history, and with so many colours still to choose from I can’t see myself going back to brown for quite a while yet 😉

  4. I’ve also only recently “come out” from behind the pseudonym online. And I agree, it is kind of scary!

    I like the look of your blog. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was so bright until I read your comments about it — I use firefox and usually leave the bookmarks sidebar up, so I saw about 2 mm of it on either side! But it’s good, and it goes with your photo on twitter — I would expect you to be fun and interesting, not a staid, boring stereotype. As for consistency with twitter, I agree with StEvelin above — I rarely see my tweeps’ backgrounds, so that doesn’t matter. I think consistency between your photo or avatar on various sites is more important.

  5. Suzan says:

    Blog name and design match and you link to your twitter id. Tweetdeck et al users will see your image not your twitter page background. Suzan.
    ps I use boat names for blogs, and my name in comments, locals will know me but gives some privacy in the great beyond

  6. Jen,

    I think that your blog name is great, and it’s a really good way for people to know who you are – you’re instantly recognisable at conferences (so long as you don’t change your hair!). I don’t think the blog theme is too bright, but all the screens I use regularly are fairly small and low-res, so I don’t see a lot of it around the side of your posts. As people have said, most people won’t look at your Twitter profile much, so matching there doesn’t necessarily matter too much. But maybe you could make a subtle connection between the two (and play on the ‘colour’ theme of your blog name) and use matching colours for one aspect of both, e.g. links? Just an idea (I love tinkering with design, so I’m just thinking out loud, really.)


    • Hi Katie – that’s an interesting idea, I’m definitely going to have a think now about how I can use elements of design to make subtle links between my different profiles. I love an excuse for some creativity! Thanks for your positive comments 🙂

  7. Diana says:

    I really like your blog background – looks great, is very distinctive, is consistent with the blog’s name and features rock tortoise Bob Dylan – what’s not to like? If it were mine, I would use it for my Twitter page as well, but as others have said above I don’t think it really matters too much.

  8. Ruth Jenkins says:

    I love the name of your blog- don’t change it! Blogs should have catchy memorable titles anyway, and I associate it with your hair! So your Twitter and your blog DO cross over 🙂

    I have been thinking about this stuff too, though not actually doing the 23cpd. I just changed my wordpress url to kangarooth, to match my Twitter, but now the old links don’t work! Its swings and roundabouts


  9. Miss Alice says:

    The blog name worked to tempt me over here, from the long list of CPD23 blogs, and I *love* the background image you’re using here. The associations seem, to me, to be all about bright, fresh, reaching-out, and that seems to match the posts that I’ve read. I’m still working through some thoughts on pseudonymity and identity, so glad to hear I’m not the only person who finds the idea of ‘coming out’ online a little scary!

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