What my Twitter cloud does (and doesn’t) say about me

Twitter now allows you to build lists of people that you think others should follow, and group them into categories. The idea is to allow others to subscribe to those lists as a single group, based on topic.  A few weeks back the most excellent Jay Baer posted on his Convince and Convert blog an idea to take all the lists you are a part of and make a tag cloud. It would give you a snapshot of your personal brand online.

Tag Cloud for @jmoriarty

jmoriarty Twitter tag cloud

It was both interesting to see the most common terms, and the oddball one-offs like “zzzzt” and “naked” (?!?). It’s also skewed towards the positive, which always does the ego nice but is what I’d expect from a tool for recommending others. Who is going to recommend someone for “bad hair” or “horrible puns”? I wasn’t surprised to see Phoenix in here so large as it’s not only where I live, but also because of my assorted hobbies out here.  I was glad to see Ignite Phoenix show up fairly small, and “writers” show up at all given my lack of 140+ character writing in the past few months. It was also reassuring to know I qualify as people… but then so does Soylent Green so maybe that was a gimme.

You Are Not Your Brand

I liked this exercise not because it provided some great insight – it is a small piece in an overall puzzle – but because it gave me a view from others eyes on how I am perceived.  When I first started poking around with the idea of “my brand” with my avatar photo shoot, I was genuinely confused by which pictures others felt best represented me. I learned that my perception of my brand was not entirely aligned with what others saw, and I could either roll with it or really work hard to create the image I felt I should have.

For me, the latter option felt too forced. As the great philosopher Popeye once declared, I Am What I Am*. I went with the avatar that the community chose and tried to understand the perception so I could take it as personal feedback. I’m a different person than I was when I started this project, but it has been through following my own path and plenty of trial and error – not trying to craft an ideal image to hang on myself.

The moral of the story is that in spite of your best efforts your image may not be what you think it is, and if you’re not actively listening to what others say you’re never going to really know.  Oh, and a bonus moral of don’t build your house out of straw or sticks. Go with bricks.

* Actually he said he “Yam What He Yam”, but I’m no Yam.