Community lessons for a first grader

CampbellI was sharing with a friend yesterday that it was a big day for my 6 year old nephew because it was his first day of school. My friend quickly responded:  “That’s great! I’m curious as someone who is fully immersed in personal  branding and social media – what advice would you give him?”

In thinking about my response, I quickly realized that the advice I would give  Campbell is not that different from the advice I would give anyone else related  to their personal brand and social media…granted, I might use different words,  but the message would be the same.

1. Be yourself – of course, I think he’s fantastic, but the truth remains:  people respond better to people who are authentic and sincere. My nephew is  outgoing and caring in nature and the best thing he could do is to stay just like  that.

2. It’s not all about you – it’s important to make sure you are listening. That’s  how you get to know people. Nobody wants to be engaged with someone who is constantly talking or, worse, interrupting. Additionally, listening is one of the best abilities we are given at birth and if we can perfect this at a young age, it could can be powerful.

3. Participate – get fully engaged in the community. It’s not just about building conversations. Look for opportunities to connect at school but also outside of the classroom. Inside his classroom, my nephew will connect to smaller groups and he should look for ways to help out, get together outside the classroom and maybe even connect online. (I hear there is a webkinz community that’s still growing! )

Regardless of what we call it, his school and the friends he makes will be his community for some time. He’s fortunate in that his community comes with that all-important tie that binds. Simply put, the tie that will bind his community is that they are all in the same stage of life and over the next few days, weeks and maybe even years, they will have a series of events that will draw them even closer.

While it’s his first day of school, it is more than just a day – he’s launching his personal brand, and I can’t wait to see how it develops. By the way, there is one thing I would say to my nephew that’s just for him and is not advice: I love you very much and am so proud to be your Aunt!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally August 13, 2009 at

Thought about your Personal Branding mantra a couple of weeks ago Robyn. One of my daughter’s friends needs a roommate at college. She said a specific girl was interested — so what was the first thing she did? She went to the Facebook page and looked at this girl’s pictures!! Upon review, she decided that the girl “looked like she partied too much” so she told her the roommate position was filled! And we thought employers were the only ones using these tools to “screen” potential applicants. Looks like some teens have learned how to use it to their benefit as well — interesting since our survey found that many people in their 20s haven’t caught on yet to the importance of Personal Branding.

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Beth Mulhern August 4, 2009 at

It’s so refreshing to think of personal branding from a new perspective – in this case, of a child going to school for the first time. Very thought provoking!

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Victoria August 4, 2009 at

Great post Robyn! It really is all about being yourself…its amazing how easy it can be to create your personal brand when you are just yourself in places like Twitter and Facebook, and also at face-to-face networking events.

Good advice for your nephew…i’m sure he’ll do great in school!

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