Francesco Ciulla
Francesco Ciulla


Francesco Ciulla

How to build a personal brand effectively

How to build a personal brand effectively

My own notes for Hashnode Bootcamp

Francesco Ciulla's photo
Francesco Ciulla
·Sep 19, 2021·

6 min read

Hi I am Francesco and I am very active on Twitter

Here are the personal notes I wrote down for myself to use during the HAshnode Bootcamp. I have used some of them during the live session but I think is a good idea to share them and I hope you can find them useful

I am usually a host on my YouTube Channel

But this time I have been a guest on the Hashnode Bootcamp.

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Here are the notes I had prepared for the Hashnode Bootcamp. I have talked about:

  • Becoming a Docker Captain
  • Being a Developer Advocate
  • Creating a Community of Content Creators
  • Public Speaking Experience
  • Experience with Hashnode
  • Interviews on YouTube
  • Final message

What does personal branding means to you?

Personal branding for me is the set of everything we do on social media to show a part of ourselves.

We can decide to show only the professional one, only the private one, or a mix of the two.

I fall into this third category, the most tiring and the most difficult to manage. it is harder to believe in the technical content of a person making funny videos, but this is my daily challenge

Your experience on social media?

My experience with social media has been very strange.

I started using social media less than 2 years ago. and I'm not talking about creating content, but not being social at all! the only social network that I have always used, as a consumer, is YouTube, mainly to watch Traversy Media videos.

But I've never been a "lurker" or a consumer on Twitter, for example.

I started being active on Twitter in January 2020, and not for a noble cause, but because I had created a simple Android application using Unity3D, and I wanted to advertise it. so I told my relatives ok, my 100 friends ok, and then .... then I decided to join Twitter to find someone who could try it.

From there, Things have snowballed. A lot. I have finally created my YouTube channel after 10 years of overthinking, and I have monetized it in 6 months

I say this because I don't really know how, but yesterday I was the host for 2 live panels at an official Docker event. I am not complaining, by the way, let's keep it up!

Ah and of course I spoke as a speaker at the Hashnode Bootcamp, this is an amazing event for me!

Have you always been a content creator? what made you change your mind and how?

Not at all!

But I've been a teacher for most of my life. Both my parents are teachers, I became a volleyball instructor at 15 and did it for about 20 years, I have taught and still teach Maths, Physics, and Chemistry to high school and university students, I have also taught classes in my university '.

Let's say I have a lot of teaching DNA in my veins.

When 4 years ago I started working as a full-stack developer for the European Space Agency, it is something that I have been missing on a daily basis, and going back to creating content has been an exceptional experience for me!

What do you have to do to stand out on a platform which has millions of people?

Here are some of them:

  • dedicate consistent time to the platform (hard to avoid if you aren't already popular)
  • focus on less thing (less is more): make the time you use on the platform valuable
  • The golden rule to grow on Social media: Try to be helpful!!

Introverts. Can they be successful on social media or do they have no chance?

I think one of the most important moments for me on social media was this:

One person told me:

Francesco, you are an inspiration, you WERE an introvert, and look at you now

I thought, "wait a minute, so have I stopped being an introvert? No, I just got used to doing this kind of thing, even if I'm introverted! That's my nature and I can't change it".

Let's take love relationships as an analogy. There are people who like to meet other people, to play, to joke, it comes naturally to them. But more introverted people also get engaged and married, otherwise, we would have died out many years ago!

The real reason is that if you really care about something, you do it, no matter how introverted and shy you are. That's what happened to me when I decided to start making videos. I decided it was going to be important to me, and indeed it was.

Did becoming a Developer Advocate helped you with your personal branding? How?

I looked for this role, but not actively. I think that instead of looking for a job, we should attract it.

I got a real offer the day after I became a Docker Captain, I don't know if it's a coincidence. I'm having a lot of fun and what I like most is that I can create content but still get paid. it must be said that the role of Developer Advocate is very delicate because we put our face on it. We can't promote something we don't really believe in.

Small note: We are currently using the Hashnode Team feature, and it's great because we are multiple content creators, there is Zayd and Jay Allen, and we create content on the Hashnode platform with our separate accounts!

What about the community you are creating? Is that useful for your personal branding?

Absolutely yes. I am very happy with what is happening.

Finally, my ideas are clear: there is a problem: this problem is that there are people with great qualities as Content Creators, who do not have the visibility they deserve.

Hashnode is a community that has led the way in this sense, and I think that is one of the reasons for its success.

My idea is to create a community of content creators to collaborate and do something good together. It would be nice to do something with Hashnode because a lot of us are your fans!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their personal Branding? What's the core idea?

I interviewed more than 128 people, and you can watch all the interviews if you want, but I'll give you a summary: not everything works for everyone.

The fact that one person has reached 10k followers on Instagram and you have not, does not make you a bad content creator.

For example, Webdevsimplified has more than 600k subscribers on youtube, and he makes amazing videos, but has no Instagram!

Nick White has been on Twitch for years with discrete results, but when he posted the videos on YouTube he boomed!

It would be nice to be successful in all areas, but it is better, at least in the beginning, to focus on just one thing.

It is better to be Batman on a social network than Captain Noob on all social networks.

The last thing I want to say is, be honest with yourself and your content. If you don't know how to make videos, make a video where you admit it candidly. This has vast effects:

  • you can stop lying and pretending to be good if you are not.
  • honesty is always appreciated, even if someone will laugh at you.
  • by doing so, you become an example for others who are struggling.

Once we have crossed the river, we should reach out to those who are still crossing it, to continue the journey together. I feel like the person who has just come out of the river and is still wet.

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I would love your feedback about these personal notes. You can also find me on Twitter

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