This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my third WordCamp Portland event. As usual, it was a great event. It is consistently one of my favorite events of the year.
During one of the sessions led by Aaron Hockley, the topic of ‘personal brand' (a term I'm not a big fan of, but for lack of a better one) came up. It's something I wrestle with a bit and I wanted to throw my situation to the room and see what they had to say about it. I said something to the effect of:
If you hang out with me in person you'll find that I swear. I swear a lot. I swear like a sailor. But, you will rarely, if ever, catch me swearing on my blog, Twitter or Facebook. This originally started because of my kids and just trying to keep my content clean in case they were around it. Then, I started a business and the line between my ‘personal brand' and my business virtually disappeared. People who know me online know that I am VegasGeek and am also 9seeds. So, keeping it clean now seems like the right thing to do for the business.
After a bit of discussion, CamiKaos grabbed the mic and gave an interesting perspective. Cami had interviewed me back in 2009 at WordCamp Portland and she remarked that we had been chatting casually for a while before the interview, but as soon as the camera was on, Bam! I went in to ‘professional' mode.
I asked Cami if she had noticed specifically that I don't swear online. Without hesitation she said yes.
I immediately started thinking about the people I know both online and in person. Do I notice when they swear? (sure) Does it change the way I feel about that person? (nope) Do I notice when somebody swears in person, but doesn't swear online? (not really) And, as a business owner, the most important question, would I choose not to work with somebody because they swear? (nope)
I brought this up at dinner after WordCamp. Todd said that I didn't swear that much, but that the swearing increases proportionally based on the number of beers that have been consumed. It's funny because it's true.
I'm curious what you think.
– Do you think it hurts somebody's ‘personal brand' if they swear (online / in public)?
– Do you think a potential client would base a decision on it?
– Do you think somebody's ‘personal brand' extends to their company/job?
– Do you think this is all a moot point thanks to the amount of tattoos I have? 🙂
(image from flckr user joeshlabotnik)