Oh my horror at the personal brand notion! My intense and overwhelming dislike of it! It has taken a long time to actually address this question without contempt or anxiety, and this seems to be the case for lots of librarians in the CPD23 Thing 3 mire (yes, I know I’m doing this a bit out of time, but working through it as I am currently without dissertation and or employed). But I am going to fall in and try, because it was sad to neglect this blog when I have a pile of other posts I wanted to put on it.
If all this proves too long, I am taking the following approach and hope this helps anyone else wrestling with doing this project (or having shied away from it because they think these terms do not fit their politics or personality). I am completely uninterested in ‘constructing’ a ‘brand’ for myself. I question the individualistic nature of the concept of a ‘personal brand’ and the extent to which it fits in with a profession that is really about public service too. That said, I do seek to represent myself online as I am in person and would feel very uneasy if I didn’t.
Name and photograph
I chose the name for the blog because it planted itself in my brain when I read Infinite Jest, and like a lot of things I feel for my own amusement, it was rattling around as a unique title for a library blog.
I am marginally anonymous – you can get to this blog through my Twitter account. Having grown up with the internet, I am just a lot more comfortable with a degree of separation between my on- and offline identity.
Representing myself on social media: I used Facebook to manage my social life until February 2012, when I decided it was hovering up time, boring me, and making them too rich. I now use it in a limited way, because this is what makes me feel most comfortable. I kept my Twitter account public for most of my year at library school in London, which was good for maintaining networks and more fun than having a closed account. Now I live in a small city again, and I think it’s unwise to have an open twitter account here for personal reasons. My name and picture are recognisable to those who know me offline.
I seriously question how useful Linked In is. After a year on it and getting to grips with most of its basic features, it has never brought me useful information and/or work.
I am often a bit more worried about how much of an academic do I appear to be in job applications (and is this a good or a bad thing?) than how much do I tweet about the wrong things? (the academic/librarian split is something I really want to write a post on, but later) I edit Twitter frequently, and am very careful in writing about work or others on it, except when it is my own writing/historical work, which is entirely independent of my library identity. I treat Twitter as a loose observational diary more than anything else, and I don’t try to use it to promote myself as a type of librarian.