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There Are Some Who Call Me "Tim"

TimenchaI've always taken issue with my name.  Tim Johnson.  There's only... what... a zillion of us on the planet?  No offense to my parents... they sort of came with the name "Johnson" so that wasn't really up for debate.  And the name "Tim" was a relatively commonly regularly-overused name back in the mid-sixties... why not?  Actually, as I've gotten older, I have found I prefer my given name, Timothy, over the shortened version, but still... not helping much in the distinguishing factor.

Let's review, shall we?  In the Tim/Timothy Johnson category, there are a Senator from South Dakota, a Congressman from Illinois, the Director of Antz and Over The Hedge (now I know why I liked that movie so much), the producer of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, the medical editor for Good Morning America, and the Correspondent for the Washington Bureau's Beijing Office.  A few of the lesser known in the all-inclusive club of Tim Johnsons are an associate music professor at Ithaca college, a linebacker (for either Baltimore or Oakland, but he's not showing up on either roster), the captain of the New Zealand Wheel Backs Wheelchair Rugby Team.  And let's not forget the rabid dog in To Kill a Mockingbird... his name was Tim Johnson also.

Growing up, there was a Tim Johnson a grade ahead of me who managed to get into more trouble than Imus at a Diversity conference.  During my undergrad years, there was a sociology professor, and we got each other's mail on a regular basis.  There's around two dozen of us in the Des Moines metro phone book, with whom I've been confused on the basis of credit ratings, arrests/legal issues, mail, and death (yes, I supposedly died a couple of months ago, prompting a plethora of ads for memorial stones to arrive at our house).

AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRG!!!!  How does one develop a personal brand in a crowd this large?  (Minus, of course, the recently deceased one.)

Two things:

  1. I blog.  This alone has catapulted me to the top page Google searches on both Tim Johnson and Timothy Johnson.
  2. I am who I am.  Before I was hired on at Drake, I ran into Dr. Delaney Kirk (who was instrumental in my hiring).  She was my professor way back when, and we had not seen each other or talked in about six years.  When I commented my surprise that she remembered me among all the names and faces, she gave me that deadpan look for which she is famous and simply replied, "Tim, when somebody rides a skateboard into my classroom as part of their final presentation, I don't soon forget them."  I guess my personality creates its own unique brand...  (lest we forget the bunny suit)... enough said.

What about the rest of you?  Even those with less-than-common names... what are you doing to promote your personal brand?  Will people remember you in six years?  What about in six days?  Six minutes?  Just some thoughts to ponder on a Saturday night.

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Comments

Delaney Kirk

Tim,
I've enjoyed our long association first as teacher/student and now as colleagues and friends. And it all started with a skateboard...

Timothy Johnson

Yes... a skateboard... and the fact that we both possess an offbeat sense of humor. I've valued the friendship a lot over the past 17 years (yes, folks, she started teaching grad classes at the tender age of 23) :)

Lucia

Well let's see... with a full name like Lucia Bennardetta Carmine Mancuso I doubt I will ever be mistaken for somebody else. My parents did however call my brother Luca (Lucia without the i) which has caused confusion.

My approach to my brand has been to always be me and never try to be anyone else, mostly because I find it imposiible to be anyone else or even pretend (I joke around that I'm too lazy to be fake - it takes too much energy).

I believe we are all original and have our own spices and flavours and if you let it out and don't hide that - people will love you and remember you for who you are.

Delaney Kirk

Hey I started teaching at ten years old is the story I tell!!

Timothy Johnson

OK, Delaney... I'm 40, so I'm not letting you off the hook of being younger than I am... :)

Timothy Johnson

Lucia!!! So great to see you back on the blogosphere! You've been sorely missed! As always, you've made some great points about personal branding... and with a name like yours, I'm sure there's an amazing personality to go with it. And I am very much looking forward to matching a name to a face in Chicago at SOBCon07 this weekend!!

SueAnn

Tim, Last names are burdens which must be carried. When I named my son I never dreamed there would be more than one Scott Dullard in the entire world--but there is. I hope you'll enjoy what he did (since the two of you have the same sense of humor) His tag line --- "Not your usual dullard" sd

Tim Johnson

Im the pro skateborder version of the TJ's. Not much to talk about but for the past 2 years Ive finished top 3 in the world cup bowl rider series. Not bad for 32. Anyway it is cool to see this post about people with the same name. (Im over the Lassie and South park "Timmy" jokes but whatever. My middle name is Allen so I get the Tim Allen jokes alot too. Cheers to Timothy Johnsons everywhere!

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