Okay, so the great moment has come where I have to ask "Who am I?" and "How do others perceive me?".
Well - let's break this question down into the basics:
Name - For the sake of complete lack of creativity I went with my own, Caitlyn. It's what everyone knows me by, and for a professional blog it seemed better to go with my name than to hide behind a pseudonym.
Photograph - I don't have one up yet. I have been debating about this a lot. Part of me just wants to leave it blank, but then the other side pipes up that having a photograph might make networking easier. At any rate, I'll need some time to find a suitable one to use.
Professional/personal identity - I want to keep things mostly professional, but to be honest, this will turn out to be an incredibly boring blog if I don't try to interweave some personality into it.
Visual brand - I spent ages trying to decide on a background for the blog. The obvious choice was a row of books. I was nearly going to go for it, but then I started looking other CPD participants' blogs and lots of you have already used books as your backdrop. That was when I decided to try and find something that was unique to me. That was when I thought of stars. The star has always been a shape that has resonated with me. When I doodle I draw stars, so I that it might be a nice personal signifier.
Activity - GOOGLE!!!! - There was only one Google entry that referred to me personallyand happily it was work related. It was a news item about a World Book Day celebration I organised two years ago. My only regret is that this is the fourth item in the search. I also tried googling my maiden name and none of the entries on the first page were me. Good to know that my past is unlikely to come back to haunt me!
Final thoughts - I found this to be the most interesting and useful "thing" to date. However, like many others I find the term "branding" extremely off-putting. People have always been judged and labelled in their work, but in the past it was called your reputation. I wish the world could get away from using marketing jargon. A person should not be thought of in the same way as a can of Coca-Cola. I prefer the term "reputation" because there is something more personal about it and maybe a sense of moral obligation attached to it. You can be known by your reputation, or you can stake your reputation on something. Making yourself into a brand just sounds hollow.