The Best Brand There Is

The Best Brand There Is

It’s a pretty common story that goes something like this:

Once upon a time there were a bunch of people with blogs that were like most blogs: read by friends, family, and a few strangers. One day — after their blogs sat untouched for a long time — these people announced, “I am rebranding myself!”

Blogs were redesigned and, after a few new updates announcing the rebranding, the blogs went back to gathering digital dust.

The end…

THE ALIGHTY BRAND!

Anybody promoting something online has probably seen the advice:

“It’s all about the brand!”
“My brand is…”
“The brand is everything!”
“BE YOUR BRAND!!!”

I can only think of a handful of people who are their brand; most others are a boring copy of something they will never become. If “who you are” is all about copying others in attempt to repeat their success, that’s not a brand — that’s desperation.

There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by others. Hell, there’s really nothing wrong with trying to copy the success of others instead of following who you really are and finding success (or at least happiness) on your own. Just don’t shove it down the throats of others with a wooden spoon and call it a “brand worth following.”

The Best Brand There Is

It’s a sad thought, a person saying, “I need to rebrand myself.” It indicates that they were either not honest about who they are from the start, or that they are unhappy with who they are and trying to be somebody else. I’m not sure one can fake being something they are not. Maybe some people can, but it takes a certain skill and effort that seems so tiring. (At least a skill and effort that seems better spent on being themselves.)

It seems simple, really: be yourself. Create your own content from the heart, even if mimicking the work of others and making noise will bring more attention. Eventually, most people tire from noise and look for something genuine. I’m not saying volume and preying on those wanting to be loud in their own right can’t work — you might even make money along the way with that plan — but the best brand out there is yourself.

No one else is you, and that makes all the difference.

Safe Places (Online)

Safe Places (Online)

I’m not a fan of Facebook. I like being able to stay in touch with friends in other places, and it’s a good place for my friends in the area to have a little message group for board game nights and other hangouts, but beyond that, I am not a fan.

It’s not Facebook’s fault. I know people blame social media, smart phones, and other things for a loss of time and a thinning of deeper thoughts, but the technology isn’t to blame — it’s the people who use it.

More to the point, how they use it.

Sick of My Own Causes

We’ve all seen political rants and shouts for a cause online by those we don’t agree with, but can the calls to action for even the things you believe in get old? I can only speak for myself, and the answer is a resounding yes!

I don’t eat animals; I don’t believe in any gods, but I don’t want to see a parade of slaughterhouse photos or angry atheist rants in my feed. I’m not fan of Monsanto, but the same people who tell others to check Snopes before posting political rants apparently don’t check Snopes before posting rants about GMOs and other things. The very people trying to force a view are often the people who scream the loudest when the “other side” tries forcing a view — same tactics; different sides.

After awhile, I get sick of even causes I believe in because it’s all I see in my Facebook feed all day, even after hiding the worst offenders and creating groups with people who generally post positive things.

Politics and the cause du jour always seem to seep in.

Refuge Among the Madness

Google+ and Tumblr have become my refuge from the madness. They are two places where I can go online and walk away feeling good about things — inspired, even. Google+ is where I mostly see people into photography, podcasting, and new media. Tumblr is for art and some publishing stuff.

I’ve mentioned that I like Google+, Tumblr, and even Twitter more than Facebook, and most of the people I know don’t understand why. For me, having these safe places online, places where I can go to find inspiration and talk with people more concerned about making things than arguing, is a refuge. I see people sharing the efforts of their hard work on Google+ and Tumblr more than on Facebook and some other places online. It’s a reminder that most people with an Internet connection have an opportunity most of the world doesn’t: to make a better life for themselves if they so choose.

It’s sad that so many people spend their free time arguing and pushing causes online that only seem to bring them stress. Sadder still that they feel the need to share that with the world instead of all they could be…

You Don’t Have to Have an Opinion (About Everything)

You Don’t Have to Have an Opinion (About Everything)

I once worked with someone who was asked what they thought about a particular news story at the time. Their answer was simple and direct:

“I don’t care about that.”

It was a topic deemed important by most of the people in the room — myself included. It would be fair to say we were taken aback by the reply. Some of us commented on how clueless the person was, and others said it was sad that the person had nothing to say about the topic. Yes, we judged this person for not having an opinion about this news story — and some others. Sure, make the argument that an adult should know certain things…make whatever argument you want, but the fact still stands: we were assholes.

As adults, like it or not, we get to call our own shots. Want to play video games all day? Your call. Want to juggle, take photos, watch movies, whatever — instead of tracking what’s happening in Syria…who am I to tell you that you shouldn’t?

I can now see that there’s something to be said for the honesty in saying, “I don’t care about that…”

A Matter of Priority

That moment at work was the first time I remember thinking, “What if this news story the rest of us deem important — maybe even vital — really means nothing?”

When I really think about it, I can think of only a handful of things deemed “important” that actually affected my life. Not to sound like it’s all about me…I believe it’s important to be informed of what’s going on in the world, if for no other reason than to keep a sense of compassion for others. So even though I make a conscious effort to not watch the news, I’m  informed.

Still…

Why I Refuse to Let You Steal My Time!

I don’t post anything political on my social media sites. Not because I’m not interested, but because it’s such a time suck. (That, and I respect friends with other viewpoints and don’t want to upset them, even though it’s “my right!” It’s also their right to drop me from their feed if I’m an asshole.) For me, it’s really a matter of priority: hours spent “debating” online becomes hours I could have spent writing. Hours spent watching 24-hour “news” stations is time I could have spent with my wife. Hours spent arguing in person is time I could have spent in the company of someone I really like, talking about the things that matter most to us.

When I look at it that way, I have an odd respect for the person who proclaimed, “I don’t care about that…”

This Weekend

It’s almost the weekend, and I have some ideas for things I plan to do. I will enjoy my time — even any time spent online because these days, I don’t feel the need to chime in with my opinion on things (or even drop a carpet bombing of facts when necessary to show how I came to my conclusion). I’m so much happier not feeling the need to be able to talk about everything just because it’s expected of us. Why be a jack of all chats and talk about everything when you can talk about the things that really matter to you and those around you?

I look at it like this: Sunday night, how do I want to remember my weekend…going out and doing things I enjoyed and relaxing, or spending time online arguing? Unless I truly loved throwing my opinion online for hours, choosing the latter option is a waste of time.

At the end of my weekend…at the end of my life…I want to remember the productive and happy moments — not the moments arguing with someone I respect, someone I once respected, or even worse: some asshole for whom I have no respect at all…

I don’t care about that!