Careers: Personal Branding and Reinventing Yourself for the Digital Age

If you’re over 35, more than likely you’re a geezer digitally speaking. Or in the inimitable words of media wunderkind Shelly Palmer, you’re a “digital immigrant.”


If you’re over 35, more than likely you’re a geezer digitally speaking. Or in the inimitable words of media wunderkind Shelly Palmer, you’re a “digital immigrant.”
Counting myself among the endangered species, I was delighted to find that there is still hope for us. Just because we were born on the wrong side of the technology divide, there is a bridge to get us across. Enter Palmer, who’s 50 but somehow managed to morph into a “digital native,” and is now sharing his trade secrets in a course, “Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the New Digital Economy.”
You’d have to be living in a cave of course not to know that we’re experiencing seismic economic changes with entire portions of industries like newspapers, recorded music, and advertising in flux. “Nothing is where it’s supposed to be anymore,” says Palmer. “You can either adapt or become obsolete.”
Whichever side of the digital schism you sit on, Palmer’s own story offers inspiration. Two years ago, he had a weekly newsletter on the media industry with about 300 subscribers. Today MediaBytes, an instant summary of the day’s most important technology and entertainment news. arrives in the digital inboxes of 175,000 subscribers to provide in Palmer’s words “a crib sheet on your BlackBerry every morning.”
About 18 months ago, Palmer and his team realizing MediaBytes could be transported to video, began offering a daily videocast along with a weekly podcast. Today MediaBytes is syndicated on 26 different websites, TiVo, the HuffingtonPost and YouTube among others. Which means that 50,000 people a day get their Shelly Palmer fix.
Now, Palmer, of course, is not your typical media consultant. His resume puts us mortals to shame. An awarding-winning writer, director, producer and composer he is also a technologist, an inventor and a leading expert on the forces that are shaping the future of technology, media and entertainment. He is president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York — the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy Award. Believe me that’s just for the starters.
However, Palmer assures us that we too with a little hand holding can begin to cross the digital divide. Here is some of his advice:
Work daily to  maintain the value of your brand. We are constantly evolving. Shelly Palmer “the person” is different from Shelly Palmer “the brand.” The brand stands for excellence in thought leadership at the intersection of technology media and entertainment businesses.
Have a consistent brand message. Everyone today can be a brand. With this much digital access, there is no excuse if you don’t have a digital brand thanks to social media like Facebook and MySpace, blogs and websites. The key is having all your messages tell the same story.
Protect you online brand just as you do your offline brand. Don’t put anything online that you don’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.
Have the right digital image. Just as you’re careful of your offline image and take pains to wear the right outfit, have the right haircut, drive a particular car, so should you take care with your digital image.  Carry a current PDA and laptop. Have a real live email address and domain as opposed to joey.spaz1234. Be in the current culture.
Wendy Marx, Personal Branding and Marketing Specialist, Marx Communications
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About the author

Wendy Marx is the president of Thriving at 50+, a personal branding, and a career reinvention coach for people 50 and up. She's sought after for her ability to turn virtually unknown people into brands of distinction