Monday, June 9, 2008

Newbie's personal brand - or lack thereof

I've been feeling guilty that I haven't put much effort into creating or maintaining an online personal brand. Sure, I have this blog, and this blog name is what I use as my Twitter handle; but that's about the extent of it. Everywhere else -- facebook, myspace, LinkedIn, I'm me -- but different aspects of me.

I use MySpace exclusively for staying in touch with my far-flung family; facebook for keeping up with friends and some professional contacts; and LinkedIn for professional contacts. Except for my LinkedIn widget here, I don't cross-promote, either. I couldn't help but feel that maybe I've been doing myself a disservice by not having a more cohesive online presence.

But this recent post about personal brand from one of my fave bloggers, Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist, has me thinking differently. Maybe what I'm doing -- using different social media for different aspects of my business and personal life -- makes sense! What a relief. Isn't it gratifying when a smart thinker you admire validates your instincts?

Also, I've always felt guilty about how choosy I am when it comes to adding friends in any of these spaces. I don't add friends on MySpace -- my family are the only ones I want reading that. Typically I don't add friends or contacts on facebook unless I've met them at least once in person and face-to-face. And I don't add contacts on LinkedIn unless they are, in fact, professional contacts.

I work in publishing and I get a lot of friend requests on MySpace, facebook, and LinkedIn from authors whom I may have corresponded with on a professional basis in the past, but have rarely actually met in person. I almost always turn them down, or add them on a "limited profile" basis, especially on MySpace and facebook, and then end up feeling guilty, like I'm spurning them. I've yet to find any validation on this point.

So for all you smart thinkers out there: what do you do when you get friend or contact requests from people you don't really know? Do you automatically accept everyone who wants to link up with you? Or are you more choosy?


Bargainista said...

Jenny, It depends. I have a similar approach.

However, when it comes to how I portray my blog on social networks, I'm usually consistent and more open to Bargainista's connections.

As for Eden Spodek, I use different photos of myself depending on the network. It's not something I do consciously but I don't make an effort in these spaces either. If I'm being myself, the consistency will come across in my personality.

Facebook is the one social network I find more challenging because I'm connected to different groups of people - family, friends, professional contacts, neighbours, etc. and don't believe in using different privacy settings for different contacts.

Jenny Bullough said...

Thanks for your comments, Eden! I find Facebook challenging, too, because of the multiple types of connections I've made there; I do employ different privacy settings, but only in a few cases. I like your open philosophy!