Archive | June, 2012


The Two Things You Need for a Personal Brand

Personal Branding - The Anti-Social Media“If I could only be like him.”

How many times have you said that about someone in your life? Maybe you’ve said it about someone you’ve seen on TV, or in a movie.

I know I’ve said it. That’s why when I’m at home alone, I act like a playing a video game, trying to be the heroes I see on my TV screen.

Shut up.

You know you do something just like that too.

When we talk about personal brands in social media, we look at people like Gini Dietrich, or Mari Smith, or Chris Brogan and we worship them for their ability to create a cult of personality around themselves. But is it really just a narcissistic circle jerk?

There are two things that go into strong personal brand:

  1. Strong values to stand for.
  2. Great work to stand behind.

You don’t have a personality if you don’t stand for anything. When you don’t have any values you’re a barnacle, clinging onto whatever values you can. Or maybe you’re just clay, molded into whatever values are acceptable from one person to the next.

People with great personal brands hold strong values. I believe that half-assed social networking is ruining our ability to communicate with one another. I also believe in the power of humor to educate.

These values fuel the work I do. They make sure that whatever I do, my work support those values. They charge me with doing the best work I can. This includes my online persona. I don’t allow myself to suck just because I’m trying to figure out “the Twitter” or whatever the next social networking craze is.

You don’t need tips, hints and guides to have values and do great work. All you need is a spine and the gumption to do the work.

Stop worrying about your personal brand. Start worrying about what you value, and how you can do better work.

Once you’ve got those under control, your personal brand will reveal itself.



Cyborgs - The Anti-Social MediaHow many people do you know who schedule their tweets?

I call these people cyborgs. They’re engaged, but when they can’t take the time to engage, they let the software do the talking for them by sharing content.

I understand the cyborgs. They have jobs. They have lives. They can’t spend their lives in communion with their computer or smartphone in an attempt to be a god of social networking.

But at what point do you decide that you should be a publisher when you’re not around? How do you measure the value of sharing content when you’re not there to see the conversation it creates? If the conversation is so important to you, why can’t you be there to start it in the first place?

Maybe it’s different for some people. Maybe these people are too worried about building a cult of personality around themselves than actually making social networking social.

Or maybe they’re just smart about how they use their time. I don’t know what their exact motivations are.

What I do know is that I think something is lost when you decide that it’s more important to be a robotic publisher. If you decide you can’t be everywhere, but want to give the illusion that you are, you haven’t made the decision about what’s really important to you.

You can’t have it both ways. You have to decide where your real priorities are. If social networking is important to you, make the time to be there. If the real world is important to you, don’t spend your time trying to make yourself appear like your always online.

Don’t end up a cyborg, unable to chose what will actually make you happy and successful. Make a choice about what’s really important to you.

Are you a cyborg? What made you choose to allow the computer to take over your feeble social networking skills?



TwitterBird - The Anti-Social MediaTwitter changed it’s logo and tried to make a stink about it.

“Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.”

Oh fuck that.

Twitter is about exchanging messages around the globe quickly from any device with SMS capabilities. It’s about posting what you ate for breakfast. It’s posting what you overheard at lunch. It’s making some sly observation that makes you seem both like the coolest person ever and the biggest douche on the internet. It’s waking up and telling Twitter good morning before you’ve kissed your loved ones.

Changing your logo and posting a pretentious blog post will not make you relevant.

Providing a useful service that allows people to exchange information quickly and easily will keep you in the hearts and minds of the masses. In fact, you already do that Twitter. And you do it well without being a total asshat like some other social networks I know.

So, in six months when your creative director is trying to get you to change your logo once again (“It’s made of fairy dust!”), just stop and think about how you can use that money to improve and enhance your service to your users.

Me and the rest of Twitter will thank you then.