Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Personal Branding or Personal Hell?

A peer and former vendor recently asked for my thoughts on personal branding as he looked to establish himself further in the social world. Honestly, the guy is really good at what he does and is well-respected and it always surprised me that he wasn't more active in social. But I understand establishing priorities and the work-life balance and completely respect his position.

I answered him in a series of DMs on Twitter, but as I went on I realized that I was onto something. People who get carried away with their personal brand do so because they aren't comfortable with the public perception of who they really are because they aren't comfortable with themselves, hence ... THEY LIE ONLINE.

Tyler Durden is right. You aren't your job, you aren't the contents of your wallet and you aren't your ... well you get the point. Nor, however, are you the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. You are who you are and if you aren't happy with it and need to write happy-happy joy-joy tweets so as not to offend the lily-white sensibilities of our current society, then maybe, just maybe you should re-evaluate your own priorities and whether you really care if your thousands of followers would want to have lunch/coffee/cocktails with you if they knew deep down who you were.

My personal brand? Honestly, I have a very strange personal brand. Between the social marketing stuff (which is less & less what I do on Twitter or Facebook) it's mainly about life, my kid, my wife, hockey, current events or pop culture. You know, REAL STUFF THAT MATTERS TO ME.

I want to be the Anthony Bourdain of the MSP marketing world. I'm the misanthrope with whom people want to drink (or so I've been told.) Ok, maybe that's not accurate though in a way it would be awesome. The truth is that I do seem that way from time to time because I am honest about myself, my life, my hopes, dreams, fears and the crap that happens on a daily basis. The problem is that too many people have become accustomed to the cause du jour or not offending or not wanting to be a Negative Nelly.

Screw it.

Sometimes the world needs to see some negativity. Know why? Look outside.

Sometimes life sucks and it's ok to bitch about it. I can't sell my house because it isn't worth anything. The Wild have missed four playoffs in a row. My body attacks my joints. My father has a leaky mitral valve and a fluttering ventricular something or another.


It's ok to say that. It doesn't change the fact that my life is fucking awesome. I love it. I'm happier now than I have been in 20 years, seriously. I have a wife and child who love me, I have a job I thoroughly enjoy and have hobbies that bring a smile to my face and I don't take stupid stuff too seriously. Yet, because I dare to pull back the curtain on the seedy underbelly or potentially rain on someone's parade, I'm a misanthrope. Fine. Whatever makes you sleep at night as you continue to lie to yourself and all of your Social Media "friends". Yawn.

For me, I try to make Twitter or Facebook as much like a real conversation with me as possible. But ... I'm so brutally "me" that it's easy. Too many people here are fake and/or one-dimensional, usually because they are focused on their personal brand rather than focusing on authenticity, vulnerability and personal relationships. The world is filled with sycophants and hangers-on, but they don't help you become a more true and honest version of you.

It's sad, it's sterile, it's fake and ultimately the facade will crumble. That's my take.