my comment:re an internet guru [Rob Pegoraro] said ”Like it or not; people can be brands.” .......I had said: ........''NO NO NO,,,,people cannot be brands…this is a perversion of culture and civilization….people are people. PERIOD. we are not brands and this whole empowerment ME ME ME self-branding entitled BS is just that, BS!''
Krantz Stone or Stone Krantz, in Canada, replied in the comments section:
Dear Angry Luddite:
I don't think yours is a realistic attitude to hold in the age of the internet and of social media.
The term 'branding' may have corporate connotations which emphasize the commoditization of people's personas and reputations, but the fact remains that when our names and reputations are but a Google search away, no one can really afford to leave their personal reputations in hands of others: we have to take proactive steps to ensure that when employers (for example) Google our names, they don't come up with anything that would make them not want to hire us.
That's just one example of what personal branding means.
It's about controlling our image, our names, our reputations in the on-line, public sphere of the internet.
Even one comment on one blog post can speak volumes about a person: it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce whether someone is callous and thoughtless or kind and considerate by what one says on the internet, or how one says it.
If a post is full of spelling and grammatical errors and is incoherent, like it or not, people who read the post make pat judgements about the kind of person who wrote the post.
Likewise, what one says on Twitter (as Ashton Kutcher discovered to his dismay) can create a huge firestorm of controversy, even if the intent behind it might have been innocent at best and simply not phrased right, and so it's important that people make an effort to comport themselves on the internet as one might do if one were out in real life, speaking publicly, because that is in essence what they are doing every time they post something on Facebook, or tweet, or comment on a blog or website.
No matter how decent a person, or how well-spoken and urbane, if they don't make the effort to control what is associated with their (brand) name on the internet, they run the risk of having their online (and subsequently their real life) reputations tarnished as a result.
Whether that should matter much in journalism is a different story, although I would argue that journalism that is not read by anyone isn't really very useful, no matter how good the integrity of the journalist or how well-written their piece, and especially in the now precarious world of print journalism, journalists are basically being left to fend for themselves in terms of promoting their own work and thus, the need for personal branding.
A decent journalist might be able to garner sufficient Twitter followers, blog readers, Facebook fans, etc. solely through word of mouth of the quality of their work by reputation alone, but it's an uphill battle in a world increasingly stuffed full of self-styled news bloggers marketing themselves so that they might be heard.
There are only so many people whose Twitter feed people are going to want to read on a given day, it's not like there is an infinite amount of tweets that people have time or inclination to read, so they're going to start getting picky about who they follow.
A journalist who wants to earn a living and keep feeding their families needs to be able to generate the kind of following that social media can provide: at the very least, having that sort of following is exactly the kind of cachet needed for a journalist to be able to snag a job at a newspaper (where they care about whether a journalist has or will have the kind of following that will mean more people who might read (and buy) their newspaper and not some other, not to mention it mattering to the advertisers who largely financially support those papers).
At best, having that sort of constant and loyal following means that your journalism work isn't in vain, you're not just some schmuck with a blog writing to a nonexistent audience where you're only getting 10 hits on your page in a month, and 5 of those were you checking your own blog from your phone.
It means having the same kind of following that Pulitzer-prize winning print journalists had in the past, or Emmy award-winning news reporters, of being heard, of getting the kind of recognition for your hard work which is as important to career satisfaction as getting paid.
Otherwise, you might as well go do something else which is less stressful and might pay better. That's all personal branding really is, and I don't really see it as being this terrible or perverse thing that you seem to.
We suggest a new term POT for personal operating tag or P.O.T instead of personal brand.
Any other suggestions? All ideas welcome pro and con.