When I started my blog around six years ago, this world of writing and putting my thoughts out onto the internet was so new and exhilarating. Around the same time I also joined Twitter, which continues to be my favorite social media platform because, at its best, Twitter fosters creativity and authenticity. In my mind, Twitter is the cool girl who’s into politics and memes and sometimes makes mistakes, while Instagram is the so-perfect-they’re-unreal prom queen valedictorian star athlete who’s also really great at taking photos. Maybe I’m just jealous of the Instagram chick, but I also don’t want to have to look at her perfect pictures all the time.
Excuse that tangent, but I was just at a social media conference so these things are on my mind. Now, back to the point…
This blog was born out of my boredom and unsureness post-college-but-pre-job (I’m clearly really into using dashes-like-this lately) during the summer of 2013 when the high in Tucson reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit. At that time I wasn’t so sure where the next few years would take me, but I knew I enjoyed writing little blog posts in my downtime. My unsureness remains the same, but in the past six years so much else has changed. I moved to Los Angeles and got my master’s degree. Donald Trump became president. I lost my dad. I got married. And while those are major changes—little things have changed too.
I remember that when I started this blog, I wanted to focus mainly on film and TV, but also tidbits on marketing. I’m still interested in all of those things (my current day job is in the marketing realm) but my priorities and approach to those subjects has shifted substantially. So here’s where branding comes in…
One of my first blog posts (which I must have deleted, because I can’t seem to find) was about branding, but more specifically, personal branding. I bought into the “marketing for creatives” concept that individuals, especially artists, were brands. David Lynch? A brand. Sofia Coppola? A brand! And I thought that if I wanted to be successful, I had to be a brand too.
I now recognize artists like Lynch and Coppola as creatives with a very specific and unrelenting voice and aesthetic. They are human beings, not brands. I’m embarrassed I ever took the time to write an entire blog post about personal branding, because again, PEOPLE AREN’T BRANDS.
I guess that’s what 22 years of living in a hyper-capitalist country led me to believe? How could I be so simple-minded as to think that my value as an individual relied on the essence of my “brand” or my ability to brand myself? To make every bit of my existence digestible for insatiable consumers? Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but I’m ashamed not only that I was educated to feel this way, but that I accepted it as my fate and even took it upon myself to advocate for why others should think of themselves that way too.
But I am not a brand—and neither are you.