Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

I have spent waaaaaay more time than necessary agonizing over certain aspects of my personal brand (colors, for example. I personally like pink, but then, if I use too much pink, do I send a message about girly-ness? Do I care if I am sending a message about girly-ness? I am a woman, after all!) and maybe not enough time on other aspects of it.

Things I’m already doing right:

My blog and twitter feed have the same handle, and both of them also show my name – people can figure out who I am. I sometimes wish I’d stuck with my name alone, but most of the blogs I read don’t have personal names as titles. I also sort of secretly love the idea of drawing explosions, and if you haven’t checked out my About Me page to see the video that the phrase came from, you should.

I also own, and I have a site set up there that aggregates all of my the aspects of my professional identity – my Twitter feed, my blog, my Goodreads account, and my LinkedIn account. My name is fairly common, but both that page and my Twitter feed show up in the first page of results when you google my name.

I’ve done a pretty decent job of keeping my Facebook page totally separate and private – my Facebook friends can get to my professional identity, but it’s much harder to find my Facebook page if you only know me professionally. I’m not sure this is actually necessary, because I keep things pretty casual and informal here and on Twitter, but it’s nice to feel like there’s a little bit of me that’s still at least sort of private to the greater internet and professional world.

Things I can work on:

My bios need to be updated on pretty much all of the sites mentioned above – I finished my Masters last month, but I’m still listed as a student pretty much everywhere. I struggle with writing bios that are interesting and personable and don’t come across as boring, boring, boring.

I could really use a new picture as well. The one I’m using on Twitter is several years old, and while I haven’t changed that much, it would be nice to have something more up-to-date attached to my personal brand.

Those are two very concrete things that I can (and hopefully will!) fix this week. The other difficulty for me personally to judge is how I come across on the internet. Am I professional enough? I don’t want to be a bot or totally without personality, but I don’t want to come across as immature either. It’s hard to step out of my personal context to see if my internet presence alone conveys my personality and my interests without seeming a) boring or b) unprofessional. If you have thoughts on that, or any other aspect of personal branding, I’d love to hear them!

7 thoughts on “Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

  1. I think professionalism varies SO MUCH by profession. For example, I would probably never ever ever be professional enough to be a banker (haaaaaaaaha), but the standards in the field I love ever so much, librarianship for youth, are slightly different. I think because 1) libraries tend to be more casual than businesses (seriously, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen librarians in suits at work), and 2) any time kids or teens are involved the idea of professionalism becomes something slightly different.

    • I’m kind of into the idea of you as a banker. The other bankers would be like, “Uh, what?”

      Side note: I ran into/met Allison O’Reilly at the Newbery Banquet – I mentioned you, and I was like, “She’s very gregarious,” and then she knew exactly who I was talking about. True story.

      • Haaaaa. I would be a terrible banker for many, many reasons, the least of which being I’m way too inclined to think the best of people (some may call it naive, but whatever!) and I’m terribly slow at counting money.

        My resume should say at the top Ariel Cummins — Gregarious Librarian. OR I SHOULD START A BLOG NAMED THAT.

  2. I think that your site is lovely (I love the pink!) and I have been impressed with your blog. Honestly, the beauty of is making me think about a site redesign for (check out and tell me what you think, is that an improvement or not?)

    I hear you on the bios though. I’m super boring and I use way too many parenthetical statements (as you can see, that’s typical of my writing). I haven’t figured out what to do about that though.

    • I like the stripes! is powered by another tool, so I didn’t have to do any of the coding, which is a very good thing. If you like that background, though, you can find a bunch of free high-res background type images here:

      Man, I also love parenthetical statements – I usually try to edit them out of my blog posts, but my emails are chock full of ’em. I also love the em-dash.

      Also, totally unrelated, but I hear you’re going to be in Spokane in July! We might try to make it up there – Mark’s family is also getting together around then, and it would be so nice to see everybody.

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