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Following-up yesterday’s article that started out as a Twitter DM conversation, today’s does too. Kate Wilson and I got into a discussion about maintaining multiple Twitter identities for different content streams.

As my personal branding has evolved, I’ve switched my Twitter focus from @mikebrown to @Brainzooming. Why? When I first signed up for Twitter, the Brainzooming name was still 7 months from popping into my head. Beyond these two names, I have a couple of related ones for live tweeting, and another active account (along with a corresponding humor blog) that’s not affiliated with my name or the Brainzooming brand.

Kate’s point was you shouldn’t need multiple Twitter identities. Instead, she recommends letting your full personality come through in a single identity. People will either accept your full range of messages and personality or not; you ultimately stick with the “takers” and drop the “leavers.” She commented that first and foremost, “personal branding” is about the person, and you shouldn’t need a strategy on how to be a person.

Her last comment really hit on the fundamental difference we have on this topic. To me a personal brand is equal parts person and brand. From that, it’s only natural you’d apply brand strategy principles to how you carry out your personal brand. This opens the door to multiple personal brands with different promises, attributes, and affiliations to your main brand. Some people have one audience; others have more than one audience. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to think that each audience wants exactly the same things from your brand.

Kate’s point of view forced me to grapple with whether having multiple personal brands is disingenuous. While she got me teetering on the idea through her tweetering, ultimately I’m sticking with my approach to personal brand strategy, although it’s always open to change.

It was a great, thought-provoking discussion with Kate, who will share her counterpoint in tomorrow’s post! In the interim, what’s your take on the topic?Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  • Mike Brown

    I’ve received two really thoughtful email responses to this post so far and received permission to share both of them.

    The first is from Lyne Tumlinson. We met through a mutual LinkedIn connection, and I sat in on a very helpful presentation Lyne did Monday night on personal branding, her full-time focus now with her new business, Career Lift:

    “Determining your personal brand should be step 1, using both introspection and feedback from others. Sharing your personal brand (e.g. with Twitter) feeds into your audience.

    “For this reason, I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up an additional Twitter identity. In this world of too much input, I’d rather give my audience what they want and need from me. My family might be interested in my business (Career Lift) – if so, they can follow that one. Also, those connections that are closer to me can stick with @LyneTum, and I can use it like a Facebook status for friends.

    “Or I could keep @LyneTum as business and focus on Career Lift’s vision with my tweets (including the authenticity that is part of my brand, which can be pretty personal for business) and just use Facebook for the more personal messages.

    “I’m not sure there’s a right answer to this. I do think it’s good to think it through and have a plan!”

    The other email comment was from Doug Stevenson (www.allcreation.net), who is also in the midst of adding another Twitter ID:

    “Mike — I will soon have two Twitter identities for the reasons that you cite. However, I do believe 99% in what Katie says because I believe in authenticity and I indeed am the brand I sell. It is not something I hide behind. That said, I want the brand to be memorable and a good fit with the rest of what I am doing. Presently, I am @MadCreative. (I started Twitter by jumping in — and this name was based on impulse — and the photo I had.) Stay tuned for the new Twitter ID. Best — Doug Stevenson http://www.allcreation.net … PS: I expect that my Tweets will not change considerably in content or character — Maybe there will be a bit more emphasis on usable business insights — but I never want to become dull or simply a salesman with an agenda.”

    Thanks both Lyne and Doug for getting the conversation going!

  • http://www.alexgpr.com Alex Greenwood

    I have one Twitter account for me, my PR firm and misc stuff: @A_greenwood. For my e-novel I have a separate one @pilatescross — though I confess I need to do a better job of engagement with it–I plan to do so when the book formally launches this summer. Kate makes great points (as usual!) but I’m weighing with you on this, Mike.

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  • http://twitter.com/hollywoodone Scott Frederick

    Putative thinking had me fully siding with Kate and her comments. However, Mike, you raise a great argument in terms of delivering the right image, message and content to the right audience. I also wonder if there is a difference between managing a personal brand within a corporate setting versus managing a personal brand within an entrepreneurial setting? Perhaps it simply comes down to a matter of personal or professional preference and how willing one is to mix potentially multiple brand attributes together into a single image. My head already hurts thinking about it all.

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