Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our Online Personal Brands and Reputations Undepine Our Success

Thanks to the fellow adventurers in learning doing F02010 for the discussion on the various blogs and twitter about branding and online identities.

Reflecting on what branding means for my work in health, I have been stimulated me to write this blog entry.

I think we all have a personal brand-whatever work we do-be it for profit or on not for profit. We all have reputations. I have a reputation. I hope my reputation is a good one.

The people like the people we work with think that some people are:

  • useful to know,

  • a conflict manager,

  • a problem solver,

  • concerned,

  • creative,

  • culturally sensitive,

  • determined,

  • genuine,

  • a good communicators,

  • helpful,

  • honest,

  • innovative,

  • insightful,

  • inspiring,

  • motivated,

  • reliable,

  • respectful,

  • up to date

  • and working on projects that are deserving of support.

The list goes on. You could make your own version of list for our profession.

If people thought that the three quarters of the above about a person concerned with health promotion, that person would have a lot of advantages in their work. They would are much more likely to be successful over the long run because people would want to help them and work with them.

They would recommend to others that it was worthwhile working with this this person.

People also think the opposite of this type of list about other people's reputations.

They think people might be:

  • a waste of time,

  • a conflict avoider,

  • a problem avoider,

  • unconcerned,

  • dull,

  • culturally insensitive,

  • wishy washy,

  • fake,

  • a poor communicator,

  • unhelpful,

  • untrustworthy,

  • a laggard,

  • lacking understanding,

  • unimaginative,

  • a time server,

  • unreliable,

  • insensitive,

  • out of date,

  • and only in it for themselves

People with such reputations would be much less likely to be successful over the long run because people would not go out of their way to help them and nor choose to work with them. They would issue warning about such people, not endorsements.

People think many other good and bad things about reputations, some is based on what is true and some of misunderstanding. Some is based on hurtful gossip. Some may even be based upon mistaken identity. (Have you seen how many people called Malcolm Lewis are out there on Google, Facebook, ect ect.?)

If you have a good reputation you get call backs, invitations, doors opened, help, people's time, the ‘heads up’. You get all sort of help and goodwill.

All this may make a big difference to whether you achieve you goals and realize your mission.

Valued relationships can be used by a person to create changes they choose and desire.

It seems that social media amplifies our reputations- good and bad. Social media and the internet more broadly can also bring up our past in ways that are problematic and sometimes in ways that are wonderful.

I’ve realized that if my work generates a bigger online presence then I need to be better able to manage these ups and downs.

Also I have realized that people don’t always understand that people change over long period of time. People don’t always understand that we are all do dumb things when teenagers. People don’t always understand the back story or the context of some fragment of information. We need to be careful arriving at judgements.

Social media also blurs the distinction between our personal lives and our professional lives. I read again and again with social media, there is need be authentic. Blogger Mike Volpe, cloundsouced the wisdom about online authenicity at his blog

The LA Times Social Media Guidelines advise, "Assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them."

As we move more of our private, community and professional interactions online and use social media more, Can we can all expect this merger to occur?

We all know from experience that being authentic matters in our face to face work. Authenticity is how we build rapport and ultimately relationships.

We also have stories about ourselves and lives and our pasts.

Seems that people can now check back among long lost digital footprints to see if those stories gel. Beware the bull artists (Polite Version of Australian slag for liars.)

Seems in this new digital age and every changing economy, we all need to think about our personal brands and have strategies to manage them, particularly our online tracks and our privacy settings.

So try to do good, be ambitious but don’t over promise, be honest and when we make mistakes - deal with them, learn from them but don't try to cover them up. Fix them up if you can and move on. Say sorry. Make amends if possible.

We also need to be careful about how we handle the reputations of others. Seems we do this a bit to particularly on Facebook.

And somehow e-portfolios of our work and study fit in with all of this?

That is my current understanding/confusion about all of this?

What do others think?

Am I on a good track or heading off the rails?

What is a good brand in your field?

How does an e-portfolio fit with this?

1 comment:

  1. Great questions, Malcolm, and great topic/s for the mini conference. I'm really interested in the issue of online identity in relation to ePortfolios...I think this will become more of an issue for health professionals as we move (if we move) into ePortfolios.

    As we have Nancy White talking to us in a week, I'd like to point you to one of her blog posts in which she tells us about a mistake she made. This honesty had the potential to hurt her reputation but the way she treated it so openly and honestly endeared her to a lot of people: