Growth of a Librarian

June 28, 2011, 12:13 pm
Filed under: CPD | Tags: , ,

This week’s Thing focuses on branding and, eager to get a head start before I become swamped with looming classwork, I have already searched for myself via both Google and Yahoo.  The only place I turn up in a Google search (under my own name, combined with USA, or combined with library/ian) is in one photo, a white pages telephone directory site and a couple of commercial people-hunting sites.  So basically someone who really wanted to could buy some basic information about me (name, parent’s names, age, old address and telephone number), which is something I would prefer to avoid, but wouldn’t be able to find anything either personal or professional.  Yahoo turned up a couple of sites where I was mentioned, but both of these were over a year old.  In order to find any more results about myself I had to enter my full name with the University I attended as an undergraduate.  No sites designed by or entirely about me turned up at all.

None of this surprised me too much, however, since I have pretty tight limiters on my Facebook page, WordPress blogs, and Linked In site.  I was pleased to see that these limiters are respected by the major search engines, actually.  I am uncomfortable with the idea of my private life being publicly visible, and though I am happy to use the internet to stay in touch with family and friends I don’t want complete strangers able to access the information I post.

The question becomes: is it time to loosen my grip on my private information in order to create an effective personal brand?  I do have a Linked In page, although it too is hidden from search engines, which is a fairly straightforward list of my previous work experience.  I also now have this blog, which is publicly attached only to my first name, some vague basic info, and my chosen photo of a kookaburra.  None of this makes me immediately identifiable, but I would guess that if I ran into a fellow blogger who is pretty astute the name Erin combined with a chat about how I’ve just started work at a law library and am finishing off my dissertation would trigger the connection.  I’m not sure, however, that this qualifies as a brand.  I generally write the way I talk, with more editing for coherency and brevity, so that my tone and language should presumably be consistent.  This blog is centered around a theme of growth, and my personal blog continues with a natural theme, but my Linked In page has no discernible theme or branding at all.  The use of a photo of a kookaburra is quite consistent for me, and ties in with my Guide name in Australia, which was, if you haven’t already guessed, Kookaburra.  No one calls me that anymore, however, so the connection is a purely personal one now.  I suppose I could always wear my Kookaburra Guide name badge at professional conferences or events and stretch my brand into the real world that way!

How important is an online presence and how does that equate to a brand?  The blogs I’ve been reading so far seem to fall across the spectrum in terms of the amount of information individuals choose to reveal about themselves.  It may be shooting myself in the foot (and please let me know if you think it is), but personally I’m inclined to establish my brand behind a few security walls.  I can see the advantage of a professional online presence, but that doesn’t mean I want my work history showing up in every internet search for my name.  Call me a traditionalist or just over-cautious, but I am never going to be comfortable with the idea of putting myself out there quite that much.  Which actually matches my real personality too, so at least I’m being consistent, which is apparently quite key to establishing a brand.

Now, I would really love any feedback on my brand (or lack thereof) as it comes across in this blog!  Even constructive criticism helps, and if you think I’m taking the wrong tack on any of this, I always welcome advice (although I may not always follow it).


4 Comments so far
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I like your point about how a lack of results shows that your security measures are working. I see from your prior posts that you’re a student, and I just graduated. I think that we should feel comfortable with having a minimal online presence, especially as students. I have just started my job hunt and one of the first things I did was to increase my online presence. I’m comfortable having my LinkedIn profile searchable, and I started a Twitter account that I’m using to do professional networking and to keep involved with others in the field. You may want to break down some of those privacy barriers when you feel as though you’re at the stage where developing your professional online presence is more important. Good luck in finishing your degree!

Comment by carriemoran

Once again, I feel like we share some of the same sentiments. I’m still contemplating my Thing 3 post, but I’ve had the same internal struggles about how much privacy to cling to. I do have my Facebook page locked down pretty well – it’s discoverable on search engines, but strangers can’t see more than a photo and city. Aside from that, most of my profiles are fairly open. Twitter is probably where I leave myself the most exposed, but I’ve had fun boosting my presence there and making professional connections. My LinkedIn profile is woefully sparse, which is something I’ll probably begin to remedy through the course of cpd23. I say everyone needs to draw their own boundaries with respect to privacy, but it seems you may need to consider lowering some of the walls in this interconnected world. Right or wrong, I get the feeling employers expect it of us to a certain degree.

Comment by Nicole Brock

I’m glad to find there’s others out there who get where I’m coming from on this one. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about Twitter, and am glad to have the opportunity to learn about and apply some branding tips so that when I’m ready to get out there and boost my professional image (once I’m actually a professional) I’ll know exactly how to start.

Comment by Erin

I completely understand wanting to keep your online profiles locked down – I have all the privacy settings maxed out on Facebook, so it doesn’t show up on Google and only my friends can see anything other than my name and pic. I would recommend maybe relaxing the limits on your LinkedIn profile though (once you’re happy with it of course!). I started using LinkedIn purely as a “google placeholder” – i.e. something I knew people would see if they googled me. LinkedIn has amazing SEO, so if you’ve got nothing else online then it’s likely to be the first thing people see when they google you. It’s a good way to control what people find if they try and look you up, and ensure that you’re presenting a professional image.

Comment by woodsiegirl

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