Defining an Entrepreneurial Identity

In my last post I announced my intention to embrace a new definition of entrepreneurship; this post sums up my first step in acting on that intention. A successful entrepreneur needs a strong personal brand to identify and differentiate them, so in our studio course our first assignment was to define our brand and begin the work of putting it out into the world via social media.

The Personal Brand Statement

This statement is the sum-it-up-and-spit-it-out, pithy and punchy sentence that explains who you are and what you stand for, in the space of an elevator ride if need be. My current version goes as follows: I believe that design is the language that can realize positive change and I strive to practice it with fluency.

Aligning with a Community

Having named what we stand for, our next step in the assignment was to go forth into the social media space and plant our newly crafted standards for all to see, alongside those of others out there who stand behind similar values and pursuits. Part of this took the form of listing who those people are, across various digital platforms.

My Top 50+ Likeminded Twitterers
My Top 100 Sites

My Top Ten (well, Eleven) Thoughts and Places Across the Web:

The Metrics of Influence

It’s all well and good to state what you stand for and list who stands with you, but how do you know if the effort is succeeding in building your personal brand? Lucky for us, there’s Klout. It’s an online tool for measuring your social media presence and influence, which it does based on weird/magical algorithms that pop out a score from one to 100.

When I first signed up on Klout last Saturday, my initial score was 19, representing a small but not completely miniscule circle of influence on the web, “a small but tightly formed network that is highly engaged,” as they so encouragingly phrase it. This score reflected my long-standing reluctance to tweet much, since I felt I didn’t have much to say. An entrepreneur, however, by virtue of having something they stand for, always has something to talk about. (Not to claim that having something to talk about is the same as having something to say.) It was time for me to get up on my soapbox.

Mysteriously, within a couple of days of more regular tweeting, my Klout score had jumped up to 33. Then I got a spate of new followers and dropped to 31, I suppose because they watered down the proportion of people actually acting on my tweets. I was happy to find that this morning I’m back up to 33… but somewhat at a loss as to what to expect or aim for from here. Like a video game, it seems to become harder to “level up” the higher you get, so it may take significantly more effort to continue my climb. I’ve got seven weeks, though, in the coming quarter, so I’m going to set my goal at 45 and see what it takes to get there.

While it’s nice (and somewhat addicting) to have a numerical measure of how I’m doing with my social media presence, a decent Klout score doesn’t mean anything unless it reflects the true community and connections that I build up through this continuing exercise. My real goal is just to start some conversations and join the dialogue taking place around design as the language of social change.