Personal Branding in a PC World

By Becky Larson,

Since the beginning of time, people have wanted to make a name for themselves.

The goal has been to be part of the “movers and shakers” of society. To live in a place where everyone knows who you are and either wants to be you or at the very least be seen with you.

Today is no exception. In fact, some would argue the introduction of social media has allowed us to further expand our network of “fans” and created an extraordinary opportunity to build our personal brands. Or has it?

I recently attended a forum where the topic focused on building a personal brand, why it matters and how to use it to our advantage both personally and professionally. As can be predicted one area of interest for most of the attendees was social media and how sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can make or break a personal brand depending on the information posted and shared with others. The presenter had the obvious recommendation of refraining from posting pictures that might show us in less than desirable situations and settings.

But one thing she also mentioned was not revealing personal beliefs like religion, politics, etc. as to avoid possibly offending anyone. Although I understand the premise behind this, I have to admit her recommendation caught me slightly off guard. Does letting people know how we feel about certain topics isolate us from the “movers and shakers” and prevent us from making a name for ourselves? More importantly, if it’s no longer “PC” to allow our opinions to be known, what is our so-called “personal brand” really built on?

All of us at some point or another have been through an identity crisis where we weren’t sure where we fit in, what we were supposed to do with our lives or what we believed. For most of us this time has passed and we feel pretty comfortable in our own skin. With that in mind, a lot of people choose to post their religious beliefs, political opinions, interests and much more information on their social media sites. These opinions, beliefs and interests have become the things that shape us and make us who we are.

The fact is they’re the things that now help us build a legitimate personal brand we can stand behind and be proud of. It’s safe to say not all of the “movers and shakers” of the world will agree with us but the hope is we’ve earned enough of their respect to not be judged by them based on certain beliefs they might not agree with. Or better yet, we’ve gained enough of their respect to possibly engage in a civil conversation with them about our opinions.

At the end of the day, making a name for yourself and building a personal brand is just that. It’s about being yourself and voicing your opinions if/when you so choose. I would hope most people agree everyone has a right to their own opinions and as long as we are respectful of one another there is nothing wrong with expressing those opinions.

About Jimmy Spencer

Jimmy Spencer has extensive experience in journalism and new media. As the founding editor of, Spencer combines his writing, reporting and editing skills to produce a "pretty good site about midtown." During the day, Spencer covers government and also covers the NBA. At night, he watches T.V. and plays on the Internet. Every now and then, he walks around his midtown neighborhood. Spencer began his professional journalism career with The Sacramento Bee, finishing his tenure with the McClatchy-owned newspaper in the new media department. Spencer moved to Connecticut where he continued his growth in new media as a writer/content producer for NBC Sports. Spencer also worked in media relations with the Sacramento River Cats, Minor League Baseball Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. Spencer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Sacramento where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The State Hornet campus newspaper. Spencer was raised in Marin County and currently lives in Sacramento, Calif. Spencer works in the community as a high school basketball coach in the Sacramento area.


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Posted by on Jun 10 2011. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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