Thing 3: my personal brand

25 05 2012

Reading the description of branding I realise that I have massive misconceptions about it.  I always thought of branding as anexercise I needed to go out and ‘do’, like marketing or promotional work, I suppose.  Now I realise that it’s something I’m already doing – people construct an image of my brand according to my opinions, my CV, how I’m dressed, my mistakes and my successes.  Scary stuff.  Which makes me think about other people’s brands and how I perceive them.  It’s easy to pre-judge someone based on their position or reputation and there have been times when I’ve got it wrong.  Other people might be getting it wrong about me, quick, I need to do something!

I googled myself using my maiden name and my married name (I only got married in February this year).  If people go looking for my online brand, they’ll find Twitter and LinkedIn profiles of people who aren’t me (I’m not yet using either).  They’ll also find an art consultant and an architect with the same name.  However, add ‘librarian’ to the search and you’ll find me!  There’s links to a presentation I delivered at a CILIP event, library newsletters and our regional website.  However, there’s no one central point of reference that describes me or what I do.  I think a LinkedIn profile would be a really useful way to present my professional role (I use Facebook for friends/family and personal stuff).  Jumping on the Twitter bandwagon would allow people to access my opinions / interests / values etc.

Reading Ned Potter’s presentation, You already have a brand! Here are 5 ways to influence it…, I realise that all of the professional activities I’m involved in have a useful by-product – my brand!  The conferences I’ve presented at and the publications I’ve written have been sending a silent message to my peers (and prospective employers!) about the kind of librarian that I am.  I’m happy in my current role and don’t think about moving on in the near future, but all this will come in handy if I ever want to move sectors and need to demonstrate that I’ve got transferable skills. 

Last year I learned a hard lesson in how not to manage your brand.  Whilst on maternity leave I was asked to contribute to an article that was being submitted to a journal about a project that I’d been involved in.  Of course, I agreed.  When the article draft was emailed to me, I was in the throes of new motherhood and didn’t read it as carefully as I should have.  It was submitted to the journal in a less than perfect state and I cringe every time I read it because I know it could be improved.  I regret that this might have a negative impact on my brand but I know that it was a one-off and I won’t make the same mistake again (by mistake I mean not proof-reading carefully enough, not having a baby ;-)).

So, my conclusions and next steps from this exercise are:

  • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • Set up a Twitter account
  • Use the power of my brand to share a positive message about myself!

Thing 2: investigate other blogs

21 05 2012

I feel like I have quite an active and supportive real life professional network, but WOW there is a HUGE online network out there, which is something I’ve not really explored until now.  I’m starting to feel really excited about starting CPD23 now.  How did I miss this last year?  Oh yes, I was having a baby!  Ah well, better late than never 🙂

What has struck me about the people I’ve come across online so far is that there are so many library and info professionals out there who are so passionate about their vocation.  Which is really heartening.  It sounds obvious, but it’s not something I come across a lot in real life – working in the NHS at the moment is pretty much doom and gloom so it’s really motivating to hear others’ stories and why they love their jobs.  It’s also made me think that a lot of my skills are transferrable if I ever want to cross sectors at some point in the future. 

There is so much debate about the image of librarians and how we should overturn misconceptions and assumptions about library work – well, here are people doing it in fabulous style (and without resorting to the “wacky librarian” sub-type). 

I’ve been exploring the list of recently joined CPD23 members and posted a couple of ‘hellos’ (someone posted a comment on my blog over the weekend and it was really encouraging to know someone is reading, so I wanted to do the same for others!).

I have also been seeking out some fellow health librarians via the CPD23 Delicious tags and have been reading how others have been progressing so far.  One of the blogs that I found most memorable was Bex Without Spex who is posting a photo of herself outside various libraries that she has visited.  What a great idea (why I didn’t think of it first?!) but then again she’s visited much more exotic libraries than me (Hong Kong and Belize!!!).  It leads me to think, yes words say a lot, but photos and images do too – and if someone hasn’t got a lot of time to sit and read your posts then surely images are the best way to capture their attention?

Thing 1: blogs and blogging

18 05 2012

I’m long overdue in setting up a blog.  I have been a ‘lurker’ in the blogosphere for years, reading and enjoying other people’s blog posts.  I use blogging software to create and distribute current awareness bulletins as part of my job.  I’ve been writing a reflective learning log on a private wiki since 2009.  And yet it’s taken me until now to create my own blog.

Writing a blog plays on a lot of my insecurities: fear of looking stupid and self-consciousness about my own opinions.  I love writing but I am used to writing in a more formal way – reports, articles and research.  I keep a reflective log but that is for my eyes only!  I can rant, write nonsensical things and make mistakes and no-one will hold it against me. 

I suppose it’s a measure of my increasing confidence that I now feel ready to join the hundreds (thousands?) of librarians and information professionals who are all blogging.  But will they like me?  And will they let me join in?

Another thing that has prompted me to start blogging is that today I discovered the CPD23 project.  I’m a little bit behind but I couldn’t resist joining in with a project that is so inspiring.  So this blog is Thing 1 and I hope to be catching up with the remaining 22 Things very soon!

My first post

18 05 2012

I hope to use this blog as a reflective learning log to chart my learning experiences as an information professional.  I’ve been keeping a private reflective learning log for a few years and now it’s time to share it with the world! 

Reflection has become a big part of my professional practice since I’ve been working on my CILIP Chartership submission, and I want to continue that reflection in the wider blogosphere.  So there may be a bit of Chartership angst thrown in here too…

I’ve just been updating the ‘About’ page on the blog and started to write a list of my ‘professional interests’.  Then I got stuck.  What are my professional interests?  I’m not really sure.  I’m staring at a blank screen waiting for light bulbs to start pinging above my head.  The theme tune from annoying CBeebies show, ‘Everything’s Rosie’, that I’ve been watching this morning with my son is on repeat in my head.  I might have to come back to this one.  Maybe this blog will help me work it out.