Inspired by @wmf who helped give me the nudge I needed to post my thoughts on this, however clouded in sleepiness they currently are.
  1. I have a lot of thoughts about this, and they certainly aren't all sorted out.
  2. Listing them here makes me a little anxious.
    There's a good chance I wake up regretting I posted this.
  3. Bear with me? Would love to hear your thoughts, too.
    Not at all opposed to a discussion on this and open to other opinions. Can we Great Debate this thing?
  4. So. I don't like the term "on brand" when it's used to describe people, to describe the self.
  5. I understand the usefulness of, the thinking (and even wisdom) behind branding and marketing not just products, but people. I understand the value of branding social media accounts. And I think it works wonderfully well in many cases, and can be extremely useful.
  6. Particularly in a culture where more and more people are self-employed and there are so many new avenues through which people create and work.
  7. But.
  8. Overall, it actually saddens me how marketing language has bled over into every day slang we use to describe ourselves.
  9. We're humans, not products. We all have our own core characteristics, yes. But we are nuanced, constantly changing, and complicated.
  10. Branding ourselves implies limits, boundaries, and boxing ourselves in, doesn't it? Once we've labeled and presented ourselves a certain specific way, any deviation from that "brand" seemingly no longer fits, and upends a balance.
  11. That's sad! That's depressing! That's scary! That's also, on some level, not being true to our full selves.
  12. But.
  13. I know that there's a benefit to sticking to certain topics/interests on any form of social media–if music is your thing, or if books are your thing, etc.
  14. Maybe you have a single, streamlined way you talk about these interests, and present a whole variety of them. This is good! You get to discuss and share what you love and along the way, connect with others, maybe even help others.
  15. But please please don't label yourself as a brand, if you aren't linked to an actual company.* Please don't feel, too, like you are married to the way you have branded yourself, if you have. I love it when people mix things up. I hate that we edit ourselves out of fear of being off-brand.
    *I understand this may sound naive, as some occupations require branding yourself in order to succeed. I'm talking more broadly.
  16. You're a person. Branding yourself doesn't do you justice. You know what most of us probably want? To be FULLY known, and still loved and accepted, by others. I don't want people in my life to only see one aspect of me, to only know part of me.
    I know that in my mind, if I think people only see and accept one side of me, I'll start second guessing if people accept the "real" me.
  17. For me, personally, I'm not good at branding myself and maybe that's where some of my restless feelings about this come from—frustration that I don't fit a category, jealousy of people who are better at branding and streamlining themselves, maybe. And that's my own problem I need to get over.
  18. Again, I understand the importance, and even the amazing value, of branding.
  19. I just fear that so much of society has become about commoditization of every aspect of our lives.
  20. And I'd like to keep things genuine. And that's one of the very best things about this app. The people here, from what I can tell, are genuine. interesting, brave, funny, smart, kind, and best of all—nuanced.
  21. But ultimately, to me, you all are so much better than brands. You're real and genuine. And if you prefer using the term brand in reference to your characteristics, ok then, I understand. But for me, I'm just not there yet.