This blog posting came out of some questions that Pomai asked me about “branding yourself”.
The term “brand yourself” doesn’t actually make sense except in a colloquial way. We are “always” “branding ourselves” if by that we mean communicating with others in ways that create or manage a particular “brand”–a category in the mind of the consumer.
Benefits of Branding
As to the benefits of “branding yourself”, I am convinced that social media and social networking online will impact our current and future careers in ways and in a magnitude we really do not fully understand. Consistency, clarity, memorability, and value are important in brand messaging, just like in product or company brand messaging.
When I find out about any new online network that has usernames, I register immediately. Sometimes I fill out profile information, but at least I try and get my brand name: jeffmcneill
Connect with Others
I try and see if I know anyone already on the site, and make “friend” connections with them if so. I usually do not invite people, unless it is a closed-beta where inviting others is actually of some value (they get an early look), and then I might tweet on twitter that I have some invites if anyone wants them.
Integrate into my Daily Routine
Some online sites I integrate into my daily routine and they continue to be the central locations for my brand messaging: youtube, flickr, twitter, delicious, and my blog. Email is still very much used for conversations, and chat/im through jabber and skype.
Engage in Conversations
I leave comments on blogs, contribute to various wikis, give bug reports to open source software teams, and use a few different twitter accounts to generate and reinforce brand meaning through conversation. I use facebook and on occasion myspace for intermittent conversation. I used to use these sites more intensively but twitter is my current focus, along with youtube and flickr.
Focus, Focus, Focus
The main thing is to continue to focus “who I am” as a brand and what category to have in the minds of others. This is the difficult part, since I tend to be interested in a lot of different things, and they change over time.