Brand Nake-id

Just returned from a conference where the discussion was all about social networking and building personal brand.

I want to draw a distinction between reputation and personal brand. Most of us digital "immigrants" have built careers on reputation--personal and professional relationships amassed over time. These are real-world connections based on one-on-one experiences. Does she get her copy in on time? Is it clean? Well-written? Can I trust her to fix something that doesn't work? Will she try to behave ethically and with integrity?

I don't always get it right, which is why I'm glad I don't do surgery. But I care deeply about the quality of my work and that's not something that plays on a t-shirt.

Obviously there are places where personal brand and reputation intersect. If you brand yourself as a professional but behave unprofessionally your brand won't hold water. Your reputation undergirds the shiny veneer of your "personal brand," but it may not be the thing that shines itself.

I said this yesterday to an editor as we were discussing the personal brand phenomenon. "I don't want all my interactions to be transactions." In other words, I don't want every conversation to be about my personal advancement.

One of the things I like about social media is that it allows for the free exchange of ideas. We can share tips and information to help each other. What I don't like about the idea of personal branding is that it takes our national narcissism to a new level. Me 2.0.

Shouldn't we be thinking in terms of We 2.0?

Comments (1) -

May 1. 2009 12:04


It depends on one's ethical base.  Read essay from Harpers, "The Spirit of Disobedience" on line.  You can google it.  Makes one say "Whooa", I'd better think this out." Like the good writer you are you said it all in two short sentences.

sue |

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