Personal Branding and The Case of the Stupid Scholar

[Cache – #95]

What would you think of someone who thinks Prague is a country?  Or who thinks there’s a country called Lithuanian?  Or who is trying to raise money for dementia research but spells it “Dementai,” thinks researching is spelled “ressearching” and that pharmaceutical is spelled “pharemcutical”?

I’m guessing you wouldn’t consider such an individual to be very bright.  Except that she’s a Fulbright Scholar with a Ph.D in Health Studies from New York University – who left an error-riddled appeal for funds on LinkedIn, for all the world to see.

It’s accepted wisdom that it’s the kids – the Millennials and younger – who can’t express a coherent or fully-thought-out idea online.  What I’ve noticed is quite different.  It is some Gen Xers – but especially the Baby Boomers and older – who don’t see the importance of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, spacing, writing in complete sentences or using paragraphs to distinguish one of their ideas from the next.  Which is absolutely brutal for their personal brands.

Why can’t they be bothered?

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4 Responses to Personal Branding and The Case of the Stupid Scholar

  1. Arijit Banik says:

    Is it Google (and the internet generally) that makes us indolent or — as Nicholas Carr argues– stupid? (Ref: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/)

    In terms of expressing oneself the “small stuff” matters and yes, it is absolutely necessary to sweat it.

    If you don’t then you run the risk of diminishing your own point of view and –by extension– your brand.

    Personally, I have found that the wealth of information that flows into our daily lives has overwhelmed many of us and made us take short cuts which would not have been permitted before but the irony is that now, more than ever, cogent crystallization and distillation of thoughts are appreciated and valued greatly.

    The baby boomers and older that you refer to (including ‘us’) are perhaps the last generation to use analog technology. In an increasingly digital world speed (an ability to digest), synthesizing (an ability to package), and delivery (an ability to execute in a timely manner) are valuable assets in promoting personal brands so it looks like some people –despite the accreditation and accolades showered upon your cited LinkedIn individual– are not up to the task.

    • Coin says:

      Very interesting. I suppose another way to look at my claim with respect to Boomers is that people who weren’t exposed to computers and the Internet in school are among the most careless typists. But: didn’t they have to take typing class (on a typewriter)? So I’m not sure if the fact that they went to school pre-computer is a factor or not. I would love to hear from someone over the age of say, 55 on this topic.

      • Funny you should mention typing, Andris – that was exactly my reaction when I read your original post. I took typing in grade nine – and to this day I think it was the most practical and useful thing I ever learned to do. I’ve been using the voice recognition feature on my new Samsung Galaxy S3, which is great, but if I’m driving, or distracted, I can’t edit it and that makes me crazy.

        I continue to find it difficult to use just one space after a period. Miss Box as adamant about using proper form with two spaces. But 140 character limits have started to alter that habit.

        As they say, how you do one thing is how you do everything. Perhaps online expression is merely an extension of carelessness or thoughtlessness in how they approach life in general? I wonder how clean their bathrooms are…

        • Andris Pone says:

          Thank you Angela. I am interested in your point: “Perhaps online expression is merely an extension of carelessness or thoughtlessness in how they approach life in general?” There are some people I consider to be very thoughtful, yet they do not pay attention to the details of which we are talking. So I wonder if instead, these folks are acting out their deep-down belief that what they have to say is so important, others should just bloody well make the effort to understand.

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