The internet has created an interesting dialogue between personal identities and corporate brands.
In the pre-internet and pre-blogging days, it was harder for individuals to establish a strong brand and public identity for themselves, unless of course they were somebody famous. The cost of doing so was simply prohibitive. To promote meant print, TV, radio, billboards, and so on.
But now promoting can mean anything from tweets to writing a blog like this one. And that has opened up the opportunity for anyone to put themselves out there.
The dialogue, or tension in some cases, is that it becomes a balancing act: what should I be putting out there? Myself, some faceless brand, or a mixture of the two? Brandon Donnelly or Architect This City?
If you a run a company, you’re probably debating this. Do I create a personal social media account, one for my company, or both? And how do I go about managing both?
To be clear, this blog is a personal blog. It’s not a business.
Some people have suggested I start to allow multiple authors and turn it into more of a platform. But I thought about that and that’s not what I want to do. Which is why I continue to write at brandondonnelly.com (i.e. myname.com). I like that I can send this URL to anyone and they’re able to quickly understand who I am and what I’m about.
Because what I write about are things that I’m passionate about: cities, design, real estate, technology, and so on. But I also mix in personal things so that I feel as if I’m writing a public journal. There are many benefits to keeping a journal (my 4th grade English teacher Mr. Hoad-Reddick told me so). And that’s really how this whole blog phenomenon started – they were personal places.
Over time though, blogs evolved to become less personal and more corporate. And I am sure that some of you would rather I keep things strictly business around here.
But to be honest, my favorite people and brands to follow online are the ones that do make their content personal. Yes, I want to learn new things about interesting topics, but I also enjoy the connection that comes with reading somebody’s personal journal and engaging in discussion with them.
In fact, I hate it when my Twitter feed becomes nothing but companies tweeting out polished articles and reports. That’s boring. I like seeing real people in my feed. People sharing what they’re doing and how they’re feeling. People being authentic, genuine, and even vulnerable.
And ultimately I find it makes their non-personal content that much more engaging. You have context. You understand their thought process. You can read between the lines. Those connections are what social media and blogging are really all about.
So I’m thinking that I’m going to try making this blog a bit more personal and a bit more playful. I hope you enjoy it. And if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll tell me about it in the comments below.
On that note, I’m off to the gym to lift some weights. Besides blogging, that’s another one of my habits that I need to do on a regular basis in order to feel normal.