Baker's Oven

What’s in a name — A URL name?

ARTHUR MORRIS/BIRDS AS ART THE PUFFIN: It's been my favouirte animal since I was 12, and has become part of me.
THE PUFFIN: It’s been my favouirte animal since I was 12, and has become part of me. Ergo, its inclusion in the URL of this online portfolio.

I’m sometimes self-conscious about my personal website’s name.

You know, the reference to an aquatic bird in the URL and its association with me, the journalist.

Regardless of the puffin there’s another Brian Baker who is a journalist in Cincinnati, and he covers a beat that is similar to what I have here in Toronto: Music. So, I’d like to make my site standout, just in case. And I think I’m safe with a name like this.

But there’s an internal debate I have with myself. Sure, I could have Brian Baker Media in the URL, but to me that isn’t creative enough. I’m a creative, quirky guy who works in an artsy industry. Given that so many companies and HR people frown on creativity and quirkiness with their employees, that’s why I sometimes wonder if having my portfolio online, and under such a unique URL, is off-putting.

Additionally, is a website that was supposed to highlight my work as a professional journalist. So, instead of carting clippings along with me to interviews, I can direct interested parties to my website. It’s really an online portfolio, and since I’ve never made a full living off of freelance (I’ve always been full-time with a publication), the URL has been grandfathered in.

As an aside, I find it ironic that the second highest skill I have endorsed on my LinkedIn profile is blogging. I didn’t start blogging on until August 2012. It was more as an attempt to describe the woes I face trying to write my fiction while doing journalism. So, it’s not really a blog per se.  The website’s official capacity is as an online portfolio. Probably 85 percent of the content on this website was printed somewhere else, whether it was the Town Crier, Vaughan Today, Urban Male Magazine, Sun Media or the Daily Commercial News.

Besides the URL, and the misnomer that it is solely a blog, I also wonder about said content. I interviewed actresses and models for UMM, which led to provocative two-page pieces, where I was cognizant that the accompanying photo would be paid more attention to than my words.

I loved doing the Spotlight feature, and it’s part of my portfolio. It’s also what typically gets the most hits on my website. It’s also the type of writing I’d like to continue further: entertainment profiles.

I find, in today’s work world, the personalities, personal lives of employees are frowned on. I’m a richly creative guy. I have such an expansive imagination, even as an adult, that I find it’s one of my greatest qualities.

My website is a chronicler of the work I’ve done professionally, as well as an outline of who I am as a person — thus the Fluff section, which includes Top 25 lists and The Five.

Admittedly, the most successful companies are the one’s where their employees are happy, where they don’t have to hide their interests, or their family lives.

Though I do get self-conscious of being branded the Puffin God, it’s a part of my personality. My work, especially my past column The Game Fixer, won me an award, and that’s because I infused myself into it. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I have plenty of skills, and have developed them — some even on my own, like HTML, Java and the aforementioned photography. I am also a personality, and often times I find it tough to mute it.

But if the puffin thing offends, or the stories from UMM, or even my personality reflected in the Top 25 lists turn prospective employers off, it’s best that way.

We all can’t be vanilla. Some of us have more flavour than that.

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