In the past, I have watched as many people have given great advice on creating your personal brand. But to be honest, I have never been all that comfortable with this aspect of the social media twist on public relations.
Being a consultant, I know that it is imperative that I am known and respected for my skills and insights. Otherwise why would anyone hire me? However, I am hesitant to make it all about me. In fact, my 15 years of training in PR say that I should operate largely in the background – bringing my clients to the forefront.
With my dear friend and mentor Shel Israel, co-author with Robert Scoble of Naked Conversations, suffering from an attack on his most recent video venture and his subsequent response, I am giving a little more thought to the phenomenon of personal branding.
Everyone is now recommending that you go quickly to GoDaddy.com and purchase yourname.com (a great windfall for GoDaddy). Heck, I thought it was such good advice that I did it myself. But who is to prevent anyone from buying .net, .org, .biz., .tv and doing the same as has been done to Shel?
The likelihood is that if you reach any sort of prominence, someone will go on the attack, regardless of what cardinal rule of personal branding you have made sure to complete.
Here is the big news in all of this:
You don't own your online identity or your reputation.
I realize that what doesn't sit so well with me about all this talk of personal branding is that it goes back to our incessant need to control things. And as has been rightly preached by Shel and others is that you can't control the conversation anymore. Shel is now living the truth if that statement out, but simply purchasing a domain name wouldn't have changed the facts.
Shel did the only sensible thing, he outlines his lessons learned and makes an apology for acting…stop the presses…human. He then gets on with life. And we are all a little wiser about the world.
You see, mistakes that result in lessons learned simply make people stronger. I am sure Shel's clients will benefit.
Photo by Rob La Gesse (from l to r: Kami Huyse, Robert Scoble, Shel Israel)