|What do you think about the Girl in the Moon?|
I've written before about my changing opinions regarding my own anonymity (or otherwise) online. When I started this blog and first signed up to Twitter, I was only using a pseudonym. I'd vaguely thought of having 'The Man in the Moon' as a stand-by pseudonym for a while - based on an in-joke from years ago - but when it came down to it, I thought I ought to at least have something that reflected by actual gender. Thus Girl in the Moon. I don't know what I'll do if I ever decide I want to sound more grown up than a girl... And I really have no idea what sort of image that the name projects. Whimsical? Astronomical? Probably, I fear, astrological, even though I don't hold with that bunkum at all. It doesn't overtly link to libraries, but I don't know if that matters. I've tried for consistently across platforms, but girlinthemoon is fairly popular as a username, so often I've used maedchenimmond (German for Girl in the Moon) with the English as a display name. I like to hope that isn't confusing - I do try to use other means to unify all my presences.
I'm a bit squeamish about using a photograph of me, even though I well recognise the benefits of being identifiable. It's not because I'm particularly concerned about privacy, I think I honestly think a picture of something else is probably more aesthetically pleasing and distinctive. If you really want to know what I look like, most of the first image results for my name are pictures of me (except the ones that are my avatar!). As I've changed the design of various profiles and of this blog over time, I've retained the same avatar so that there is some consistency. I worry (probably unduly) about changing things too much and people being confused. Equally, I am starting to wonder whether I shouldn't more often include an actual photograph of me so that finding people at conferences would be easier.
I don't worry unduly about this. I do tend to think before I tweet - generally I don't talk about personal stuff, anniversaries, domestic disasters, what I'm having for dinner. But I do talk about hobbies - music and knitting - not least because a lot of the library folk I interact with professionally online also share these interests. I'm comfortable with that, and I think my general rule is that I don't talk about online things that I wouldn't talk about to general colleagues (not friends) in the office at work.
I'm definitely someone who's interested in design, although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise when considering the various iterations of this blog. I do try to maintain a consistent, though not slavishly identical, design (colours, images) across various platforms. I wonder if my avatar image is a wise choice - it's a book (what a stereotype!), it's brown-ish (pretty dull), it's not very striking. But ultimately I am a slightly dull lass, who is interested in physical books, so maybe it's OK?
The Google/Bing/search engine of choice Challenge
I opened a difference browser (yes, yes, it's IE, I only use it for emergencies!) and checked I was logged out from everything. Here are some results pages:
Firstly, Google. This is all pretty good. I have a very distinctive name, so there's little question of it not being about me. It's just about which bits of me turn up. Google does well: Twitter and this blog are the first two, then references to various things I've presented at and written about professionally and recently. A profile page from an online network, and my Guardian article. Hurrah!
Bing is a little less satisfactory. The first two results are fine: my Ignite London talk and this blog. But then lots of minutes from committees I was on as a student. Oh dear. I wonder how to make this better? It's not as if my names isn't all over the place for library things these days. And I can't imagine that College Music Society minutes are frequently linked to.
Overall, there's nothing too alarming there. Phew. But I'm not sure that any of the above actually comes together to form a cohesive image. I worry that I rely on design because I haven't got anything more substantial to fall back on - I don't talk either mainly or knowledgeably about any particular topics, I'm not sure I have a distinctive writing style... These I things I notice about other people's brands, but fear they may be lacking from how I present myself? Tom Roper has indeed already commented that he thinks my brand is design-based, though I don't know that he meant that as a criticism (and he did say some other nice things, phew).
A second opinion
If, dear reader, you aren't exhausted from doing this for all the other CPD23 participants already, I'd like to hear your views.
- What does 'Girl in the Moon' say to you?
- Do you think I have a 'brand'? If yes, what does it say about me? If no, what am I doing wrong?
- Should I be using a photograph of myself instead of an anonymous avatar?
- Am I all style and no substance? Should I be focussing my efforts more narrowly (in terms of topic)?
- Any other thoughts?
P.S. Multicolor Search Lab is a really cool search tool that lets you find Creative Commons images of Flickr based on their colour(s). That's where I found the lovely purple moon (above) for this post.