The ability, and need, for personal branding has taken off more than ever, because of the Internet. This has happened because it’s free. Start a blog, make a LinkedIn profile, etc. The cost to promote yourself has reached a price that everyone can afford.
With personal branding comes the question of personal ethics. Do you exaggerate accomplishments by a group that you were part of, when you didn’t play a role in the actual forming or executing of the idea? Do you say expert in Microsoft Excel when you don’t know how to do anything except enter numbers into a spreadsheet?
In terms of getting exposure, how far do you or an organization you work for go to get exposure, build links and increase page rankings? Do you go as far as to create a Wikipedia page about yourself? Do you start a journal (blog) that is written to be read by you, just to help out the "googlability" of your name?
I think personal branding is important, in limited ways. Overextending yourself can be harmful, especially if the information posted about you is incorrect. Plus, the more exposure you get online, the more work it is to keep up to date.
If you like reading blogs, I would suggest starting one yourself. It’s a great experiment. You’ll learn about widgets, googlability, and the power of linking, among many other things.
In terms of blogging, I would recommend focusing on something you enjoy reading and writing about, but necessarily a passion of yours. If you really enjoy skiing, it may not be wise to start a blog about it, because it may start to feel like a job. For me, the last thing I would want to do is have a hobby that I love start to feel like work.
Tip: If you’re looking to get hired in the near future, I’d recommend starting a blog with your name in the URL. I had multiple employers search my name during my job search and comment about this blog.
By the way, you shouldn’t even list the group if you didn’t play a role, and you’re not an Excel expert.