*a quick pre-cursor – I have had terrible problems with wordpress when writing this post. Could not sort the format/font issues out. Also apologies for spelling and grammar, it was almost unworkable at points*
I was actually going to write a similar blog post to this after the New Professionals Conference on the 20th June 2011, but luckily I checked what has happening in #CPD23 After taking part in the Suzanne Whitely’s very excellent session on online branding it was quite clear that I have quite a unique, some would say convoluted online set-up. I think this is because I have sole responsibility for the library’s online presence, that it often becomes entangled with mine. I will try to keep this post as focused to the CPD23 guidance as possible.
The name used is arguably the most important cog within the brand, and I quite frankly stumbled upon mine one day, I just fancied a change on Twitter. I can’t remember what it was before, but in the past I have used redrum003, which was something based upon The Shining, the number being incidental. My actual real name – Michael Cook is not the unique and library_michael kind of sums up who I am. With no real evidence to support my claim (a case of not looking rather than unable to find any) I believe that your brand name is important
“Lisa : Names aren’t important, Bart. A rose by any other name is still a rose.
Bart : Not if they were called stench-blossoms.
Homer : Or crapweeds.
Marge : I sure would hate to get 12 crapweeds for Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather have candy.
Homer : Not if they were called scumdrops.”
Up until Suzanne’s workshop, I had not, especially with regards to Twitter, paid much heed to what my photo was and how it represented me. I did not change it often, but it is not always been a picture of me. On Twitter alone, I have had a picture of Milhouse, some of the cats and even one of me, with my most distinguished feature (my lovely ginger hair) covered. I will admit that I am not photogenic in the slightest. I am either looking miserable or pulling some awful face. I have somewhat decided on the following picture as the default picture as it’s not too horrid. In the full picture I am holding a cat.
This is where it starts to get complicated. My online identity is very much a mish-mash of professional and personal, with the two entities becoming ever intwined. Like Batman. Also like Batman, I am not a scientist. I have tried to work out what is the best way to summarise my online ‘brand’ is by this basic Zen diagram:
In a bit more detail I have:
- 2 Blogs: One of these is a signposting blog for work – it can be accessed here. The only reason I include this is because it is under the same ‘master account’ as my personal blog. I am aware this needs to be rectified but am waiting until the expected library developments occur in the next few months. The other blog (where you are reading this!) was started as an attempt to blog more professionally, but often lapses into the silliness that would be ‘just Michael’ 2 Twitter accounts: @NHSBoltonLib1 is tied to the library blog, and is used as a signposting tool really. I do not think that the library’s core user groups would see it as a viable communication tool at this time. The other twitter account is probably the closest I get to ‘profersonal’.
- 2 Facebook accounts: The personal account – ‘Facebook 1’ is for non library/work friends and family only. This is truly a ‘just Michael’ feature. There are pictures of Laura and I on here, and other things people at work have no need to see or read about. If everyone was on twitter, I would probably have a separate account for friends and family on that as well! I limit any connections between people on the two accounts as well. ‘Facebook 2’ account is for everyone. Seriously, add me as a friend. I will accept. I try to be ‘Library_michael’ on this, the very definition of “profersonal”. Not officially representing the library, but the online version of the person who works there.
- Linkeden – I do not pay this enough attention. Although a pure ‘Library Michael’ account, this is as professional as possible.
- Last FM – I only really include this as I use the name ‘library_michael’ and have a couple of library buddies on this. My profile can be viewed here . I do love music.
Although this is complicated I never on any format: criticise work, management or the organisation; swear too much (unlike in real life – where my northern working class up bringing lets me down on a regular basis) . Simply put – if it is something I would not want my line manager or a senior member of staff to read, then I do not put it in on. I also have numerous accounts on different websites and forums – though with these, I never represent ‘the library’ in an official capacity.
This is something I do not do consciously. I do not believe I have a visual brand.
Searches for ‘library_michael’ tend to be about me for the first couple of pages anyway on Google. On Bing it’s a mix from the first page of results onwards This isn’t the best sign, but then the words “library” and “Michael” are not unique even when separated by an underscore. A search for ‘Michael Cook’ brings up results on the historian, the architect, nothing about the librarian! A search for ‘Michael Cook Bolton’ brings up Michael Bolton, so less said about that the better.
This area does need a lot of work, and could probably be simplified quite quickly. Upon reflection, I should really spend sometime really assessing what i want to sell when I am online, as my behaviour is not an issue, maybe just how it is gotten across.
Because I, quite frankly can’t be arsed writing another post for Thing 6, I thought it best just to update this one! earlier in the original post i mentioned my involvment on Linkeden, and much like the others who were at the #CPD23 Manchester Meet-Up, its something I probably do not use enough (and don’t real feel I miss out by not doing). As for the others I am a member of LISNPN, but aside from introducing myself, I haven’t contributed. I prefer Twitter and the use of this Blog really. I don’t really bother with CILIP online, because its CILIP basically.