I’ve been online for a long time. Some of you have teenage kids that weren’t even a sperm in their fathers testes when I started surfing the tubes and one thing, that admittedly took me a long time to learn, but which will always stay with me, is that YOU are your brand and your biggest asset on line is your followers.
When you sign up to be part of, oh, lets say a blogging group called “BiggieBloggers” what is the value to you in adopting that name as part of your twitter brand? Why on earth would you call yourself “Paul_BiggieBloggers” or “NBrain_BiggieBloggers”?
The answer is little to none. You’re only making yourself invisible in the folds of someone else’s robes.
When you do something like that you are handing over all of the value you create as you build your network around their brand.
Stick with your own identity, build your brand around you. Allow yourself to become the asset that is desired by whomever is courting you to become part of your group.
Your followers are a valuable asset, and if you brand yourself as part of any one particular organization or group you won’t be able to easily take your followers with you when you move on.
It may seem like it’s incredibly easy to change your username in twitter to something more suited to you when you’re finished with a certain organization, and to be honest it is, but when you do that, you loose so much recognition. You loose so many people who associate you with your username, your brand.
I think it’s best, from the very start to try to stick to one username, at most 2, (in my case “pauloflaherty” and “oflaherty”) and be pervasive with them across the web in order to build your own brand, value and maintain your own identity.
Companies, networks, organizations and fads will come and go, but your name will always be your brand.