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My personal brand.

After attending the first Reno-Tahoe WordCamp, I got to thinking about what personal branding is, thanks to Twelve Horses CEO David LaPlante‘s presentation.

I missed the first few minutes of his presentation, but I think he asked everyone to write down six words that they believed defined them. Later, he said, “A brand is an emotional collection.”

He showed off portraits of the Twelve Horses staff that exemplify who they are.

So, if my brand evokes an emotion and makes people want to connect with me, then what exactly is it?

I explored a similar idea when I wrote a transparency bio a while ago. But that focused on my feelings and attitudes towards other subjects based on my background. This has nothing to do with how others see me.

I have several descriptions of myself up on my Web site, Twitter and Facebook.

You would think that after all of those descriptions, I’d know what my brand was. But the thing about personal branding is that it’s all about self-actualization.  And like any other person in their 20s, I’m still figuring out who I am. What I think about who I am changes every day.

I guess the best way to do it right now, today, would be to imagine what would show me as I am, in my “natural habitat” and doing what makes me happy. Here’s the visual:

I’m sitting at a messy desk (something like my old Sagebrush desk when I was news editor) in a big, black chair. Sitting on the desk is an iced, venti, nonfat, extra caramel, caramel macchiato, half drunk. The computer on the desk is a Macbook (mostly because I want a Macbook, not because I actually own one, haha). Open on the screen, you see Twhirl, Gmail and Facebook. The background on the computer would be whatever photo I found pretty that week or month.

If music could be played in a portrait, it would be a show song or the latest pop tune playing (and I’d be singing along). I’d be wearing a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, flip flops and glasses. There’d be a stack of newspapers on the desk, along with a pile of random books that I haven’t had time to read yet. Hanging on the wall would be a calendar that was still on the month before and random quotes/articles/lists that I thought were funny or inspiring.

I think it’s funny that my natural habitat is at a desk. It was the first thing I thought of when I started sketching the portrait in my brain. Self-actualized moment: right now in my life, my career is one of the most important things in my life right now. I want to know what my place is in this world, and I believe that my career is going to help me figure that out.

And maybe as I keep figuring out a little bit more about that place, the picture will shift and become a little more clearer.

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