Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How personal is your online personal branding?

My daughter thinks I'm a complete loser on Instagram. If I put a photo on instagram I have 1 or two likes. She and her friends easily get 100. Many of her pictures are about experimenting with your looks and a like is feedback. Whatever you think about this (it is also more preoccupation with looks) it is clear that presenting yourself online comes more naturally for that generation. I never learned it and I am still struggling with it. I want to make it personal but have some hesistance in showing too much of my private life online.

I share my background working with SNV in Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana. This is part of my work and important for my experience. I also share things about my daughters but mostly if it is relevant and illustrative for the use of new media by the younger generation. I don't share my scoliosis as it doesn't affect my work.. I read and reflect quite a bit on personal branding and it is part of our courses with Ennuonline. Here a few guidelines which may help you think through your own strategy.

Be authentic Authenticity has to do with sincerity, show who you are. So it is better to share less but being really engaged deeply in the topics you write about. In that way people get a good picture of who you are. What I struggle with is when my interests shift. For instance I started this blog about communities of practice, but now it is wider about online learning, innovation, social learning, learning as professional.

Don't share everything Being authentic does not mean you have to share everything. You can show who you are by sharing a portion of your work and thoughts. Ultimately, you want people to get to know as a unique professional. You can also share just a part of your professional life and yet enough to be interesting.

Don't share your whole private life You can perfectly share online as a professional without talking about your private life. You have your own vision as a professional in your profession. Of course your professional vision also influenced by experiences private. And it is also part of your identity. So of course you may at times explain how you come to a certain way of thinking.

Distinguish between professional and private accounts (or not) It is possible to create different accounts for different identities, for example, a separate account as a teacher on Facebook, and a private account for friends.  The great thing about social media is however that you get to know the whole person and you miss that when splitting. Besides, an extra account is more work.

Copy-cat A good exercise is to look down at a few of your heroes and copy / imitate. Who has way of sharing that is personal yet professional that appeals to you? Read again what he or she shares and try to write some tweets or messages in the same style. Is it different from your 'normal' style?

Want to read more?
How do you decide on what to share and how personal you want to be?