Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Dangerous Thing about Branding


I started blogging in college. My first post was published seven years ago on a blog that's long been a thing of the past. I started blogging with a passionate heart and naive mind. I jumped in the way I thought I could, without a clue of what was to come. Sometimes I think of that blog and I cringe, it was so wishy washy, so wanting, so desperate. But I was a curator back then, very aware of what I loved in a blog and the life that appeared on its pages.

I wasn't aware of the way people edit and filter and portray. This was pre-Pinterest, before Instagram, when Facebook was for people with .edu at the end of their email. It was when blogging was about being in our space on the internet when guests arrived, not yet the times of trying to draw people in from other spaces and places and hoping they'd stick around.

That was seven years ago.

Now we're not just bloggers writing into a small corner of the internet, now we're entire brands. Our names, our hair, our style, our homes, our approach to work, our lives are branded. They're pulled together in particular ways in order to for constant online display. We assign ourselves a family of colors and a font. We carefully stitch ourselves and our realities into square frames for a feed, into 140 characters of purposeful interaction, into niches and categories. We've redefine ourselves into a life concerned better described as cohesive than relatable.

It's beautiful the coordination of it all. It's fun to lay flat a dozen turquoise things simply for the composition of a picture. It's delightful to arrange a dozen beautiful flowers against a white background and smile at their beauty. It's wonderful to interact with an entire online community over a C.S. Lewis quote shared on Twitter. It's beautiful and admirable and fun which is the reason that branding is dangerous to boot.

It's dangerous in the way that our minds then our souls then our entire life is easily captured by our decided brand. It's the way our blog turns from a tale about our life into the driving force. We filter our choices through the cohesive look we wish to project. The danger arises when our brand becomes our life rather than our life determining our brand.

I leave you with this: be a brand, a beautiful brand because I want to look on and enjoy. But be real too, know that the mess of your life is part of the beauty of it, the little pieces of imperfection bring out the wonder of the wins.

I dare you, dear friends. Let your life determine your brand.

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