Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Age of Personal Brand Marketing

Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb posted an article today about a recent study at the University of Texas that shows you may not know your online friends as well as you think you do...
The study, which utilized a Facebook getting-to-know-you type application, "You Just Get Me," showed that the typical information posted on social networking sites, like favorite books, movies, and music, favorite quotes, majors, hometown, and other similar personal information, does not always give others an accurate impression of you.

...Surprisingly, answers to most of the basic type of questions, like those found on social networking sites, did not help users figure out what each other were "really" like. Instead, the researchers found that when a user posted things on their profile like their most embarrassing moment, proudest moment, or spirituality, their personalities were much better understood.
These results do not surprise me. My belief is that to a large extent, online profiles reflect how people want others to perceive them, kind of like a resume, and don't necessarily reflect the true person.

Sarah's article went on to say...
Gosling was drawn to this research because he believed that how one is perceived online is more important than ever these days since social networks are often where other people get their first impression of you. He also mentioned that your social networking profile could also impact your employment opportunities as savvy employers have learned to search out the online profiles of potential new hires.
I also agree with this. Whereas before, when a resume was one of the only tangible profiles of a person, a person now has many online profiles (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I think it is important for a person to keep in mind how these different profiles reflect themselves. Often, before I talk to somebody for the first time, typically for business reasons, I am now in the habit of checking their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to get a basic understanding of who they are.

Whether you like it or not, we are now in the age of personal brand marketing.

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