Brand yourself or be branded

BrandedShare it, post it, pin it, tweet it, twist it, flip it, bop it!

I have been forced to do many things this week that I am not used to doing. I have been tossed out of my comfort zone– over and over again.

Print worm sprouts hairs, discovers she was a caterpillar all along

Sunday night, the extent of my social media knowledge was the ability to log in to Facebook a few times a week. Now I start every morning on too many sites to wrap my brain around.

And I’m actually posting, which is not something I do. I can’t say it’s habit just yet, but it is happening.

For those of you keeping score, I now know the purpose of hashtags; I just need to get accustomed to using them.

Finding my brand

While gradually becoming web-savvy is a huge deal for me, the most important thing I’ve learned so far is that everyone has a brand.Fortunately for me, I’ve been developing a reputation for myself for years. I have earned a reputation as a hardworking, reliable and respectful human being.

I didn’t realize until Wednesday that the character attributes I have been working all my life to achieve would be the starting point for my personal brand.

Unfortunately, maintaining a brand once you’ve got it takes a lot of upkeep.

Maintaining my brand

Brand yourself or be branded… That concept is still burned in my frontal lobe. It is up to me to make sure my brand is exactly what I want it to be.

Not only do I have to be easily accessible online– which, as of this video shows, is measured by four factors– but I also have to manage every account with my personal brand in mind. Because the brand I am going for is pretty deeply ingrained in who I am as a person, I do have an advantage.

However, it does limit me in some ways. A single remark could drastically ratify my brand, or destroy what I have worked to create. If I am not constantly monitoring my actions, my brand quickly dissipates.

I found a list of goals to keep in mind as we strive to maintain our personal brands. Here are few ideas you might recognize from class:

  • Watch what you say on social media and how people are responding
  • Be sure what you say matches what you do
  • Don’t go unnoticed

Why it matters

As a journalism student, I submitted myself to this course because I have to shake my resistance to internet so I can keep up with my industry. But this class is not just for journalism students. The necessity for personal branding applies to everyone who is serious about having a career, in any field.

Like Gary Vaynerchuck said very loudly in the video we watched this week, we will have a legacy that lasts long after we’re gone. Our great-grandchildren will be able to watch our lives unfold online, which is just nuts to think about.

I don’t want the legacy I leave to be anything short of excellence. I don’t want the generations after me making any assumptions about who I was as a person or a professional. I want them to know, without a single doubt in their judgmental little heads, that I was everything I wanted to be.

And for this reason, when these three weeks are over, I am going to willingly continue my efforts to build and maintain my brand.

Just maybe not on so many sites…

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