A recent comment I made on The Student Branding Blog prompts me to write this post. As the past year has come to an end and the new year begins, I had resolved to put less effort into personal branding because it seems so self-centered! During the past year, I have especially put a lot of time and energy into crafting and polishing the many Web resources which I have created to support my diverse interests from politics to teaching and learning. I feel that these efforts have been appropriate because they have contributed to my students and other constituencies about which I care very much.
On the other hand, I have put considerable effort into “building my personal brand” via Web sites such as my online identity which summarizes my online activity. Among many other sites, it points to my domain DrThomasHo.com which portrays the many facets of my online life. This view clearly reveals what I care about and that’s precisely the point I’m trying to make!
For example, it’s clear I have a range of interests which span Indianapolis, human rights, and Christian missions. In creating each of these resources, I have met many others with similar interests as is evident from mechanisms such as the Twitter lists which I maintain or merely follow to enable me to keep in touch with these people. For that matter, you can tell a lot about me (or any other enthusiastic user of Twitter lists) just from this one narrow aspect of my online identity.
Admittedly, few other people are as active as I am or as willing as I am to reveal so much about myself via my online activity, but my point is that we do know so much about anyone who merely uses social networking (a large group of people) or blogs (a growing number of people) Especially if someone blogs or even regularly comments on blogs, we can learn a lot about his passion as well as his opinions on the subjects about which he is passionate. Using search engines, alerts, or other Web-based data mining mechanisms, it is easy to identify such people for purposes of recruiting them on behalf of a cause such as Christian missions which is the case which prompted my comment which I referenced at the beginning of this post.
As a matter of fact, a missions agency could amplify its message beyond traditional Web content by engaging its prospective recruits, donors, and other constituents via social media. I will develop that notion in a subsequent post.
To close, I encourage YOU to tell us about YOU! Those of us who care about the same things which YOU care about and who “know” how to…are listening!