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Facebook Username - Blaise Dipersia, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

Facebook is growing up. It is no longer just a social network it has officially moved into the branding business. The driving force behind the move is the search for identity and you can debate whether that is your identity or Facebooks (Facebook desires to be like Twitter). Nevertheless it will impact your searchability in Google. The days of just connecting with friends and having fun is over. It is time for the Facebook Username gold rush for 200 Million users. Can you say Technical Nightmare?

Be Ready

Note: Calling all personal brands, job seekers, entrepreneurs, students, business owners, organizations, mommypreneurs, and the like.

As of 12:01 a.m. EST on June 13, Facebook will begin allowing users to create custom URLs that include their name and/or company.

What does this mean? You will no longer be a randomly generated number but a personalized URL. (i.e. Facebook.com/yourname). Users will be able to choose these usernames on a “first-come, first-serve” basis for any profiles or pages that they serve as administrator. As a personal brand strategist I promote ownership/personal branding of social network URLs.

Personal Branding Advice

o Be Careful: Once you select your new name you won’t be able to change or transfer it.
o Social Network Privacy: Gone

Trademark/Branding Protection
o Facebook is allowing trademark holders to pre-register.
o Anyone how registered after May 31st can not participate in username registration. At least not initially.

Whatever it takes get some Starbucks and be ready!!!

For more information go to the Facebook blog.


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How do you capture the scope and depth of your life in an 8.5 x 11 white paper?  One dimensional thinkers in times past (pre social networks) could be captured in a white box, but the transformation of networks to social networks, face-to-face to online conversations have changed the rules of engagement.

Traditional resumes or resume 1.0 are dead and it is not because of the Green movement.
As a personal brand you engage your community, perspective employers, customers, and future business partners through a series of brand impressions that can be leveraged through your online community. With social networks like Twitter, Linkedin, VisualCV and Slideshare and other free tools a person can more effectively communicate their personal brand and what makes them different?

Definition of Visual Resumes –  Is a visual communicator of your personal brand that creatively tells your story through a brief series of images, ideas, and experiences that are  in a sharable and searchable format.

Examples of Visual Resumes
o    Dustin Sommer – A student from my Personal Branding Class (@Dustin Sommer)
o    Saranyan Vigraham - Employee at Qualcomm (@Saranyan)

Goal of Visual Resumes: Extend the engagement of your personal brand (Employers spent 20-30 seconds viewing resumes)

Visual Resume Elements
o    Brief - Recommend 15-20 pages
o    Story Telling Format
o    Avatar- Global ID
o    Spreadable – Embed into your blog, Linkedin, and Twitter
o    Searchable – The use of tags for searchability in the social network and in Google
o    Images – Sources: Flickr and istock photo

Why Create a Visual Resume?
o    Shows your creativity
o    Optimize your elevator pitch.
o    Think in soundbites
o    Practice story telling
o    Extends the engagement.

A Note to GRUSTLERS:  (Grind-to-Hustle)
Especially if you are a GRUSTLER, the traditional resume doesn’t work.  Your resume is probably loaded with experience that is not directly related with your passion and doesn’t do you justice.  You need away to communicate the varying dimensions of your life.

Share a link to your visual resume.


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I ♥ TWITTER - 3D typography, originally uploaded by flexgraph.

Love and loyalty is fleeing. As people we are finicky and our loyalty changes daily. One day we love Myspace, the next day it’s Facebook, and now it is Twitter.

Twitter is a simplistic communication tool powered by people. It allows you to irresistibly engage the Twitterverse with your personal brand in 140 characters or less.

Definition of Twitterverse: A geographically disperse community of connected passionate people sharing content in its most organic form a Tweet.

Eleven Reasons to Tweet for Personal Brands
1. Passion Principle:
The ability to re-tweet, share, and connect to what you are passionate about.
2. Real-time input: Time stamped input. Allows you to input time sensitive responses. (Maximizing the Moment)
3. Transparency: People get to follow your thoughts
4. Brevity: Helps you hone your sales pitch ability. Create great re-tweetable sound bytes.
5. Brandability: Twitter Background, Bio, blog URL, thoughts, expand your network, add to your email signatures, and include on your business cards.
6. Listening: Connect with people without interrupting with search and feeds.
7. Virtual Mentorship: Learn from thought leaders and be mentored for free.
8. Mobility: Connect with a mobile device without being attached to your computer.
9. Free: The cost is sweat equity. It doesn’t get any better than that.
10. 24/7: Twitter is always open and someone is always online.
11. GRUSTLE-Ability: You can Tweet with your Grind and your Hustle.

Bonus Twitter Personal Branding Tips
o Create a 140-Character Twitter Resume/Bio.
o Use your Twitter address as a URL
o Let your personality shine through.
o Attend Tweet-Ups.

Twitter is one of the best online personal branding tools ever. It is a free service with the ability to outperform paid marketing initiatives. It allows you to search emotionally charged content in real-time with people who are passion about your area of expertise. The simplicity of 140 Characters or less in building a personal brand is awesome. In the comment session leave your Twitter handle so that people can connect with you. Happy Tweeting!


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Dougie Under Glass, originally uploaded by Ryan Brenizer.

 

The New Transparency. Does Google know your name? Are you transparent? The perspective of this blog is not focused on telling you to become transparent, but to heighten your awareness that actively participating online makes you naked, exposed, and searchable. Let’s start by defining the subject of this blog:

o Transparency is defined as the state or quality of being transparent.
o Transparent is defined as characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices. (One of the definitions)

I am sure you are being told you need to be transparent. Have you heard the quote, “Clear is the new black.”? I hope not because I thought I created it, but you understand my point. Transparency is less of a decision and more a by-product of being online and being active in social networks and in the blogosphere.

The Birth of the Online Personal Brand
Social networks in the beginning were simply way to communicate with friends and share content and have evolved into a platform to brand products and people. Being online has become a full-time job, listed below are some of the task:

o Securing eBrand Assets: Domain Names and Social Network URLs.
o Avatar Managements: Uploading consistent avatars across all your social networks.
o Online Reputation Management:
Monitoring your online presence.
o And the list goes on . . .

My Rant about: Private v. public

Is there a public versus private Internet? I was a part of a discussion last week at dinner with Oz Sultan and some other friends and this term was tossed around. Needless to say there isn’t a private Internet, everything goes into the public domain. As a personal brand your life is lived in stream. There is no compartmentalizing who you are, you can’t live one way online and another offline. Your digital footprint is in Google and can be traced. In fact if you don’t have a presence online you are not relevant and employers and other decision makers probably aren’t interested in getting to know you. YOU don’t exist.

A person doesn’t need to ever talk with (email, DM, IM, or face-to-face) you to understand how your think, what you like, or what things are important to you. Listed below are some of the ways people can read who you are.
o Tweets
o Facebook Messages
o Friends/Contacts/Connections
o Tag Cloud
o Comments
o Blog Post
o Photos

My Random Thoughts on Transparency:
o Don’t be a Social Media Bully: Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
o Be Constant: Constancy is one of the hallmarks of a successful brand be the same online and offline.
o Character is Important: Be true to yourself. Reputation is managed but character is lived.

How transparent are you?


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Twitter Time in Royal Oak, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

The Detroit Twitter community has grown and recently captured the attention of the media. Stephen Clark (@sclarkwxyz) of Channel 7 News covered the latest tweet-up in Royal Oak on 02/27/09. Detroit is not known for social media nationally, but has always been a city of first.

Detroit First

Innovation: Thomas Edison (Light Bulb)
Mass Production: Henry Ford (Automotive)
Techno Music: Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, and Eddie Fowlkes, (Belleville Four)
Hockey’s Origin Six: Detroit Red Wings (11-Stanley Cups)
Pop and Soul Music: Motown/Berry Gordy (50th Anniversary)

The automotive industry was the silicon valley of its time and is responsible for single handedly created the middle-class. There is a new spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation brewing in the motor city and the twitter community is determined to be apart of the movement.

Michigan Tweet-Up Facebook Groups
Detroit Tweet-Up
Mid-Michigan Tweet-Up

Partial List of Attendees:
@davidlingholm
@coreyperlman
@anahidlisa
@corab
@klavaute
@davemurr
@damnredhead
@hajjflemings
@PublicCityPR
@themusicmafio
@damonhenry
@detroitvoice
@hubertgam
@andre1929
@andreafog
@keithstonehouse
@bchesnutt
@charliecurve
@karenevanstm
@jwphillips
@genebrady
@davepeckens
@montilee
@turbobrown
@rumblestrip
@sclarkwxyz

For a complete list go to the Detroit Tweet-Up Facebook Group

Check out the video on Channel 7 News: Twitter Time Video Clip.


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Brand 2.0 Business Card

Today, we live in a world that is skin deep. Magazine covers, movies, and product commercials are littered with models, celebrities, movie stars and the moving target of what society says is in and is beautiful. Packaging is an important part of personal branding and must be addressed. People are visual and make decisions based upon images, first impressions, and yes your avatar. It is cliché, but true, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

One of the most critical elements of your personal brand is your avatar or as I call it your global ID. It is typically the first visual online impression that people will have with your personal brand.

What is an Avatar?

It is the online visual representation of your personal brand.

Managing your Avatar

o Standardization: Avatar should be branded consistently all of your social networks.

o Professional Looking Image: A professional photo shoot is not required, but a clear crisp headshot is idea.

o Social Network Specs: Follow the specs of the social network your uploading your avatar into.

Benefits of a Great Avatar

o Communicates Trust: Your image can communicate trust and impact perception (enhances or diminishes)

o Branding Consistency: Visual impressions of your personal brand is consistent across the web increasing brand recognition.

o Connectivity: Digital relationships should help build off-line relationships.

o Brand Humanization: It humanizes your brand and helps people connect with you as a person.

Where should your Personal Branded Avatar Exist?

o Wherever you Exist: Press Kit, Blog, etc.

o Social Networks: Consistent across all of your social networks: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.

o Business Cards (Web 2.0 Cards): I am an advocate for avatars on business cards. Your business cards should extend the online and off-line relationship. I recommend www.BrandCardz.com

o Blog Post Comments: Create a profile on Gravatar and it will automatically populate your avatar into any Wordpress (other platforms are being researched) blog comment that you post. As people begin to read your well thought out comments on other blogs the recognition of your personal brand will continue to spread.

o Slideshare Resume: Create a creative version of your resume in a slide presentation formation should include your avatar.

o Mybloglog: Add the Mybloglog widget to your blog and it will allow you to see who is visually coming to your blog.

There are many schools of thought on creating an avatar such as the usage of cartoons, logos, or cool designs. I recognize there are many successful examples of cartoons (@chrispirillo) or logos (@BarackObama) so the chose is yours. I recommend that you use an image of yourself as your avatar because one of the goals is to turn digital relationships into off-line relationships and it helps the visual recognition of your personal brand.


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I’m really excited to post the videos of the 2008 Brand Camp University Personal Branding 2.0 Conference for all to see. It was a collection of smart people sharing their knowledge of personal branding and social media.We’re going to release a new video each week in the order that they occurred, the first session was of me presenting ‘Developing Your Personal Brand 2.0 (YU.0).’ Next week, we’re going to release teh Scott Monty video; then Marcie Brogan, Pete Thomas, and capping it off with Charlie Wolborg and Terry Bean.

You can get them on from Brand Camp University and subscribe to the audio or video podcast in iTunes or whatever podcast client. Thanks for all that came, thanks to the speakers for sharing their knowledge, and I look forward to your feedback on what we discussed in the presentation below in the comments section.


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2009 Personal Branding Predictions

It is 2009 and the Internet is buzzing with experts providing their predictions and trends for the year.  I wanted to provide my thoughts on personal branding to help set the tone for an exciting year.

Predictions/Trendspotting

1. Creative Economy:  Creativity will be to the information age what manufacturing was to the industrial age.  Individuals dependence on being a company man working 30-years at one company or until death do you part will cease to exist.  The integration of creativity into business ideas and career will become a necessity and not an option.  As a personal brand you will need to think creatively in developing strategic partnerships and ways to stand out.  After everybody has updated their Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages, established a blog, added followers, and followed all the same tips what is next?  Creativity.
2. Purpose/Mission:  People will start to seek opportunities or careers that give them greater satisfaction that they have a true passion for.  This is primarily due to the instability in the economy and the reduction of jobs that were more lucrative in good economic times.  High paying low education jobs are a thing of the past.  People will now look at opportunities that align with how they are wired and what they were designed to do.
3. ‘Personal Branding’ Term Commoditized:  The term ‘Personal Branding’ will become more commoditized and genericized.  The term has significance and value when implemented, but I believe the term itself will be overused and misused.
4. Traditional Journalist Become Commodities:  The voice and influence of bloggers and social media experts increase.  Newspapers are losing money with traditional newspaper printing and are looking for ways to compete with the new media.  Traditional journalist will have to integrate social media and effectively establish their personal brand.
5. Personal Branding Experts Commodization:  With the increase of social media gurus the line between personal branding experts and social media experts is blurring.  The personal branding industry will become oversaturated and the cream will rise to the top.  Those of us in the personal branding industry will have to work harder to cut through the noise.
6. Establish ‘Blue Movement’:  The need to develop the ‘Blue Movement is critical.   ‘American Made’ needs to be established as the new luxury product. The ‘Green Movement’ has been very successful because big business have bought into it can the same be done with the ‘Blue Movement’?
7. Twitter Relevance Increases:  Twitter will gain relevance as a search and primary news source. Business opportunities with strategist business models and usages will continue to be developed.
8. Personal Brands being Healthy:  Being healthy is just as importance as your ranking in Google.  You can have all the money and influence in the world but without good health you have nothing.  Being fit spiritually, mentally, and physically is critical. Learn to have balance and think holistically because you are the sum total of all your parts.
9. Passion Becomes King:  People doing what they love.  Passion is the fuel that drives you to do what others are not willing to do.  We all have the same 24-hours but passionate people find out how to get more out of their time and produce higher quality results.

I want to challenge and inspire you to shine in 2009.  Have an awesome year and share your predictions for 2009 in the comments section of this blog post.


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Detroit Tweet UP AnnArbor 122108, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

Detroit Tweet-Up in Ann Arbor, MI on 12/21/08 was a smashing success. The attendees are listed below. Thanks to @CatchUpLady, Detroit shocked the world with the introduction of Tweeter Cakes. Recipe is non-disclosed, but we are willing to negotiate for the right price. LOL!

Tweeter Cakes:
Twitter Cakes

Attendees:
@CathchUpLady
@penguin
@shannonpaul
@naim
@samuofm
@petethomas
@shawnsmith
@HajjFlemings
@nikkicino
@davemurr
@keunlee
@admore
@jminni
@paulrpotts
@drintelmann
@adrianpittman
@betsyweber
@mehraban


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GapingVoid_I Started A Blog, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

What do you do when your personal brand reputation has been breached? Recently an article was written about me that had statements that could damage my personal brand, so this blog was born. In the world of new media nobody is exempt from user generated content and traditional media sources, your personal brand has to be managed online and offline. As your influence continues to grow and develop your ability to have absolute control of your reputation will diminish, however there are many basic monitoring tools to assist you in management your online reputation.

Basic Monitoring Tools (Free)

o Google Alerts: Set-up email alerts to monitor search engine results.
o Tweet Scan Alerts: Set-up email alerts to monitor twitter results.
o Twitter Search: Set-up RSS feed to subscribe to the twitter results.
o Technorati: Set-up RSS feed to subscribe to blog post results

Definitions

Reputation is an external assessment by others that might be accurate or inaccurate. Reputation can be distorted which means it has to be managed.

Reputation Management: Tracking your personal brand footprint digitally and offline.

Things to Remember

o Your personal brand is your investment. Nobody cares as much as you do about your personal brand it is your baby and you have to manage it. As your influence develops over time it will take on a life of it’s own.
o You can’t ignore the situation. Determine whether a passive or active response is required.
o Be proactive. Don’t wait for the damage to deteriorate the work you done to develop your personal brand.
o Don’t Panic. There are plenty of online reputation management tools: JobMob has an excellent blog post, 150+ Resources and Tips To Help Manage Your Reputation Online.
o Be prepared to defend your personal brand.

Online Media Sources

o Traditional/Mainstream Websites
o Social Networks (e.g. Facebook, MySpace)
o Social News/Bookmarking Sites
o Forums/Discussion Boards
o Blogs
o Microblogs (e.g. Twitter, Jaiku, Plurk)
o Tags
o Images
o Video

Review alerts and monitoring tool results when managing your personal brand. Managing a personal brand is a lifestyle, you never retire from being who you are. First, contact the person directly if this is an option to resolve, human interaction is always the best. Next, develop and execute your strategy, don’t leave anything to chance, you have spent a lot of time and money to position your brand do not sit by idol and be passive. Actively manage and defend your brand.

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