Your “online” persona vs. the “real” you: Does it add up?

I’ve recently been invited to speak to a group about “brand management,” but instead of presenting on big companies and recognizable brands like Nike, Target and Apple…it got me thinking about your personal brand. I don’t think enough people consider what they’re saying and the first impressions they are making online.

I’ve seen many a Facebook status update and tweet with TMI. By TMI I mean way too much info…too personal, too whiny, too rude – basically grounds for losing a job or a friend. Certainly unbecoming. Unfortunately, the things you do online coupled with how you present yourself “in person” become your personal brand. Everything you put out there: pictures, status updates, tweets, blogs, comments and even other people’s comments become part of your personal brand.

You may think that some things are private, but when it comes down to it…is there even a difference between your personal and professional brand? Have you Googled yourself lately to see what comes up? You are a combination of the real you (the person your family, loved ones and close friends know), the professional you (your work ethic, creativity, drive) and the online you (your profiles, social resumes, blog posts, pictures, etc.) – when you put all together is it all adding up to who you really are?

If someone doesn’t know you and Googles your name, are you proud of what they find or are you crossing your fingers they’re not that savvy and quit searching? At the end of the day, are you making a statement about who you are or misrepresenting yourself? Have you updated or deleted information to clean up your act? How do you feel about your personal brand? Would you invest in you?

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