'Consider your personal brand', says the rubric for this week's activity. I type the word 'brand' with disgust and contempt. The cult of the brand is responsible, in my opinion, for so much that is wrong in modern Britain. If multinational monopoly capitalists are stupid enough to part with lots of money to bogus consultants who preach the gospel of brand, let them. The scandal that taxpayers' money goes to support this tosh in the public services should be condemned; but to apply it to the complexity of a human being seems to me absurd.
Now I've got that off my chest, let me tackle the tasks of this week's exercise.
I use my own name. Sometimes I think this is very unimaginative of me, and perhaps I should call myself ArtichokeBoy or some other modish handle. The only complexity is that I was baptised Christopher Thomas, but am universally known as Tom, to the confusion of banks, passport offices and the like. By my family's standards this is only modestly eccentric. My father, whose names were William George, was Tim all his life. As for the names we gave cats and dogs...There are no famous Tom Ropers that I know of; I come from a long line of Cambridge physicians, and the most eminent was perhaps my grandfather George, who was both anatomy demonstrator and Latin teacher early in his career.
I was far-sighted enough to register the roper.org.uk domain a long time ago, which I suppose is a plus. I used it for a pre-blog personal website which I started, I think, around 1996.
Occasionally I wish for anonymity, but the amount of work involved in staying anonymous on the internet seems to me to be not worth the candle. I hope I don't censor what I say; if anyone doesn't like a post, they are free to stop reading. I am adopted and know my birth name. If the Iron Heel ever takes over and I have to go underground, then I have a ready made nom de guerre. It may not have the same ring as Ulyanov's Lenin or Djugashhvili's Stalin, but it will fox the secret police.
For a photograph, I used to use one taken by a splendid photographer who I worked with during my time at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Because of her talents, she was given the task of taking website pictures of us all, and I rather liked mine. She went off to a career in fashion journalism and photography, I believe. I decided it would not do anymore, for it was at least six years old and for the photograph I vainly removed my spectacles, which these days I have to wear all the time, so it was misleading. At the moment I use a photograph of myself as a child, hoping to project an image of sweet, innocent youth, rather than crabbed semi-senility. I ought to swallow my vanity and use something that would allow people to recognise me in the street.
I have said before that I do not respect the conventional divisions of life between the professional and the personal, so on this blog you will find all the aspects of my life that are fit to print. The only exception is that I post my running activity on a separate blog, and the Cravatomancy project, an attempt to divine the future through choice of tie, seemed to deserve its own place.
My visual brand isn't that well thought out. I've adapted a TypePad template for the blog, but I'm conscious that some of the side-bar elements are inconsistent with the overall look; that's usually because they are widgets designed by external content providers, and I lack the skills to make them more visually consistent. I chose the name a long time ago, and it is pedestrian but descriptive. I sometimes wish I had reversed title and strapline, so that it would be known as, An Evergreen Tree of Diabolical Knowledge', but it's too late for that now. Or I might have used the quotation in the sidebar, 'A Librarian of Some Kind'.
If I Google myself, the results are good. The first hit is my Google Profile, and the first ten also include this blog, four times, and my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. There are some false positives, a lecturer in mathematics at Leeds, an Australian politician with an interest in climate change, a square dance caller and a schooner sunk by a German submarine in 1917.
If anyone would like to have a look and tell me what they make of my 'brand'. please do, and I'd be delighted to reciprocate. Please leave a note in the comments.