Sunday, August 14, 2011

CPD23 Thing 3: A blog renovated and revealed!

CPD23 THING 3: Consider Your Personal Brand

So there CPD23 suggests that for your professional identity, esp. on your blog, you should consider a few things regarding your own personal "brand" which allow you to maintain a consistent image across various platforms (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc), which are:

  • The name you use-- what you want to be referred to as:
    • This was already settled for me when I created my blog, and something that I feel is something you have to address really before you create a blog, and I picked this name out very deliberately. Sponge for Knowledge was actually born because a friend called me that once and it really stuck for me.
  • Photograph-- do you want people to recognize you when they meet you face to face? 
    • For me, I think yes, but I don't want my picture to BE my blog. I already included my face in my tiny profile pic, so I think this works.
  • Personal/professional identity-- Do you want to separate your personal and professional lives? 
    • No. I'm a nerd at heart, and this works well for me-- but I do try to maintain a professional-ness about the Sponge even if it is really very Me.
  • Visual brand-- Establishing a clear visual identity helps people automatically know it's you.
    • Advertisers use this ploy all the time-- esp. generics who copy name-brand products' style to fool people into buying their product. Shifty, but effective (read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink for more on this). This is where I think my blog could use some major improvement, and it's something that I've been thinking about for a long time-- so now that I'm diving in, here goes:

So, My Visual Brand. Well, I've definitely thought about it before. I'm a doodler. I'm a scribbler. I'm a nerd and I love putting my personal stamp on things. I hadn't done this with my blog yet, and this CPD23 project finally kicked me into gear to do something about it.  It's been delayed for several reasons: (a) I'm in school, and the last thing I should be doing is drawing millions of owls in a notebook, scanning them into my computer, and then tinkering with fonts and colors endlessly until my perfectionist mind decides it's finally up to snuff, (b) the monumental task of displaying my personality through my blog was too daunting and too important to half-ass. But here on this lazy Sunday, I'm happy to unveil my new layout.

So what have I incorporated? Well, as you can tell from my blog posts and profile, I'm a nerd for knowledge and a nerd for classical history. Owls are the birds of Athena (you know, Greek goddess of wisdom, crafts, and strategery and born from the head of Zeus, the head honcho himself), and were subsequently used on Athenian coins for centuries, as you can see here:

I borrowed my feathered icon from  these coins because of my goddess-crush on Athena, and because I feel like it well represents my love of knowledge and my affection for Greek history.

The icon over the owl's shoulder (do owls have real shoulders?) is my first name with all the letters piled on top of one another-- a symbol I've been using to sign my name off and on since elementary school. Back then, I thought I was very clever for this. Today, I still think it's pretty clever.

[A small aside:  Personal advice for those thinking about creating a blog:
  • Really think about what you're wanting to write about and what you have to say. Stick to it--, be it a professional way to document what you've been up to ( which lets you keep track of your victories and accomplishments), or a way for you to tell stories to friends elsewhere in the world, or if you just have something to say. Additional personal advice: remember that it's online (read: public!), so save the stuff of diaries to your private diary.
  • Before you actually create your blog, pick a layout you want to stick with, and if you're really set with what you want your blog to be, personalize it to you. I wish I'd done this earlier so I didn't create any confusion for my readers.
  • Pick a name-- hopefully one that you can be proud of, and one that other people get. If it's too obscure, people might not remember it. This is one of the hardest parts I had coming up with my blog.
  • Photograph-- only put a photograph of yourself up if you feel comfortable!
  • Your blog is nothing without posts. I still remind myself of this constantly, because I desperately need to get back to this. ]

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