Archive for the ‘Et cetera’ Category
Thus far, 2010 has been about keeping my head down and trying to make things happen. I’d love to expand on this post soon. But for now, know that I’m trying to live up to my potential and lay the groundwork for meeting some ambitious goals. I will add this: if you set very high standards for yourself, don’t let the occasional shortfall knock you off course. Just like the high-jumper who continually raises the bar, you’ll have to miss a lot of times before you finally clear the next height.
Everybody is so consumed by reading, listening to, following, and generally idolizing all kinds of internet celebrities, authors, and self-proclaimed gurus.
We buy their books, read their blogs, attend their conferences and then wonder why we don’t have what they have.
I have a strong suspicion that “they” are doing something that “we” are not. Doing something.
Sure we have tasks, lists and to-dos. We schedule appointments, meetings and networking events. But what are we really accomplishing? Is it the important thing we know we should be pursuing, or are we trying to stay out of the hot seat by giving ourselves more and more distractions.
I know I have.
Maybe it’s time to focus on your own purpose in life. Turn off the noise, ignore the competition and the hot-air blowers. Make a list of what YOU are doing, and what YOU want to do. And write it down in big, bold letters. Be proud of it, and keep it close so you don’t forget.
The little voice inside all of us needs to be heard. But to do that, we have to turn down the volume on everything else.
And my reply essentially echoing what he’s saying:
“I need to develop my brand.”
“Oh, so how are you going to do that?”
“Well, first, I’m going to get on Twitter, then get a Facebook Fan Page, then I’ll redesign my website…”
“Wait, I thought you said you needed to develop your brand?”
“Yes I did. Now, would you please pay attention? Next, I’ll upload a new profile picture…”
“But you haven’t said anything about developing yourself.”
“I’m talking about my BUH-RAND here. Social media lets me be whoever I want!”
“Oh. I get it. Cool.”
Alright, so this may be an exaggeration. I hope you keep reading despite my blatant attempt to ’setup’ this blog post.
I know a whole bunch of folks out there in 2009 will be hitching their respective wagon’s onto the Personal Branding star – and I’m absolutely OK with that. In fact, if you’re still oblivious to how you’re being perceived on the internet, many of the concepts wrapped-up in the topic of Personal Branding should be very eye-opening and helpful for you. I encourage everyone to get familiar with the concept, especially if you’re in the job market or starting a business.
Branding is definitely NOT a new concept. Brands have existed for hundreds of years, and as a child of the 80’s I’m pretty sure I’ve been over-exposed to branding – everything from Pepsi to McDonalds, Chevy to Folger’s. I’m convinced I grew up in the pinnacle of the advertising age. Brands as we know them today have expanded far beyond letterhead and uniforms. They have grown into huge, multi-billion dollar, living, breathing giants. But in the same brief span of my life, they have also begun to shrink back down into tiny, subconscious, minute-detail things; like organic packaging materials and personalized M&Ms.
So when did people – just regular folks like you and me – start to view ourselves as brands? I’m really not sure where it started. But it has definitely become the norm. Most everyone in business has taken to to idea, and not only in business. Social activist groups, Churches (even Pastors), Politicians (of course) and, on a whole new level, entertainers and athletes all consider themselves brands. This may sound a bit obvious, I know, but things haven’t always been this way.
Entertainers and athletes use to let managers and producers handle their brand. Not anymore. Increasingly they have leveraged their own popularity and fame to launch products like books, blogs, cookware, tv shows, fashion, clothing, restaurants – the list goes on. Watching these people pitch their products during interviews on whatever talk show, they unwittingly fall into one of two categories: believable or laughable. If Gwyneth Paltrow is touting her lifestyle blog, I’m inclined to believe in that product. Why? Because she embodies those things. She has a lavish lifestyle, she’s traveled the world and experienced life on a whole different level than the average person. However, if Madonna writes a children’s book…well…I think you get my point. How is this authentic? Could my kid relate to the imaginings of a over-sexed, should-be-retired pop star? It just doesn’t fit (although I’m sure the books still sell – one of the perks of being famous).
Branding is important, don’t get me wrong. But personal branding should not be like building a house of cards. Why I said you “don’t need Personal Branding” is because you really don’t. What you do need is a clear idea of who you want to be, and where you want to go in life. Once you’ve got that down, uploading this information to the internet won’t feel like you’re ‘re-branding’ yourself at all. It will seem natural, not forced. Publishing your thoughts and ideas on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter won’t take a ton of effort. Yes, you may have to edit yourself here or there, but you won’t have to struggle with what to say. Learning how to say it may take some finesse, no question.
If the goal in developing your brand is to further a cause: be it personal, professional or philanthropic – then it has to come from an authentic spirit. Nobody is going to buy into your brand unless you’ve done the work. Become the person you want to be. Challenge, question, and develop yourself and your ‘brand’ will fall into place. Be real, and people will believe in the product you’re selling – because they will believe in you first.
Sure, today was a “big deal” for the iPhone, as Apple announced the release of the the faster, (emphasis on faster), faster, and more faster iPhone 3Gs. The device’s hardware updates were limited: speed and a new camera.
On Saturday, Palm released it’s first viable competing phone in the marketplace since the
Treo Centro. The Palm Pre had huge buzz going since CES ‘09 back in February. Since I was in Las Vegas at the time, I was present for people’s first reactions. Several folks interupted non-phone related sessions at Wordcamp to applaud the Pre in all its touch-screen-slash-keyboard-combo glory.
The Apple WWDC (worldwide developers’ conference) keynote this afternoon brought forth the major controversy surrounding the iPhone — it’s lackluster network. AT&T was being trashed left and right by both the audience and off-had comments by even Phil Schiller himself as reported by gdgt.com:
11:52AM – Scrub and edit the video “just with the tap of your finger.” Applause. “Share it right here from your iPhone. If your carrier supports it, send an MMS.” Ha, ouch. AT&T, c’mon.
Not only is AT&T behind with MMS (sending pictures and video via text messaging), it was left out of a list of international carriers who support ‘tethering’ which allows customers to connect their Mac or PC to the iPhone internet data plan. Blackberry customers have convenient access to this feature by way of 3rd-party apps such as TetherBerry.
On a local level (here in Lincoln, Nebraska) AT&T has an uphill battle for reliable network coverage. Alltel Wireless, recently acquired by Verizon, has historically had the best in-town and rural coverage for southeast Nebraska. However, consumers love to hate Alltel, as their customer service is extremely lacking. Sprint is a close second in coverage (from my experience) and has the same woeful customer care as Alltel. But both companies are far superior to AT&T in terms of coverage, with AT&T’s lack of MMS notwithstanding.
Nationally, however, Apple’s decision to continue selling the current iteration of the iPhone (iPhone 3G) at the reduce price of $99 may be a very smart move. During the keynote, Apple mentioned the growth of the iPhone, which continues to accelearate. Bringing the pricepoint down to $99 is sure going to help new customers overlook the $180 chunk of change they’ll be dropping every month from now until eternity.
iPhone has some definite competition from Palm & Sprint. The list of 1-ups is pretty long:
- Touch-screen with Built-in Keyboard
- Ability to run multiple apps at once
- Sprint’s “Everything” Plan is only $99 per month
- MMS messaging available now (and years past, by the way)
- 4G network speed on the horizon
However the Pre has some challenges to overcome, many of which aren’t going to happen quickly:
- Apps on the Pre’s marketplace: a couple dozen vs. iPhone’s tens of thousands
- Unproven hardware durability vs. iPhone’s 4th generation proven design
- No on-screen keyboard, forcing users to open the 1-directional keyboard to enter text
- Market penetration has iPhone far in the lead
My opinion is mixed. If you live in Lincoln and you have to have coverage, go with the Palm Pre. If you live in Lincoln and want an up-to-date phone with the ability to download almost unlimited apps, and you know you have good coverage where you live and work, the iPhone will suit you just fine.
Here’s a good overview of the Palm Pre from cnet:
Not very unusual, as an unusually large percentage of Twitter users are “social media experts” according to their user profiles. I think I get why so many people feel they are “experts” at social media. Twitter has a way of making new users feel as though they have discovered something completely new. And in a lot of ways, they probably have. It’s practically impossible to find two people who use Twitter in the exact same way. Not only in who they follow, but also in what content they share.
That’s where “Personal Branding” comes in. What content are people sharing on Twitter, and more importantly, why are they sharing it? Each individual has a motivating reason for being “on” Twitter. As the service becomes more mainstream, it would stand to reason that more people are joining out of a sense of feeling left out. Just like when I turn on the TV just because I want to make sure I’m not missing anything. Do I really care what’s on TV? Or am I just doing it so as not to become “that guy who doesn’t know what happened on American Idol last night” to everyone I meet.
So back to “Personal Branding”. The difference between turning on the TV and joining a social media tool like Twitter, is that Twitter requires participation. Sure you can just read what others are writing or ‘tweeting’, but that doesn’t really open any doors so-to-speak. The pressure is there from the minute you sign-up to send out that “first tweet”. As odd as it may sound, that’s really the reason twitter is so compelling. It’s like water-skiing for the first time, or riding a roller-coaster. It’s thrill seeking on a very small level. “What will happen if I say this?” Or, “what if Oprah actually replies to me?” It’s the thrill of the unknown.
Maybe that sounds very uninteresting to you, but seriously this does relate to “Personal Branding”. Among the motivating factors for joining Twitter, the ethereal concept of “Personal Branding” is probably in the Top 2. Somewhere between the invention of Reality TV and proliferation of Text Messaging, it became socially acceptable to share all kinds of odd information about yourself to the entire universe. But instead of just labeling this behavior as “TMI” (too much information), which sounds a little too derogatory, we’ve somehow collectively decided to give this behavior a more professional moniker. After all, we wouldn’t want other people thinking we’re just wasting our time.
“Personal Branding” is one of those undefinable terms that one day falls out of the sky. Somebody promptly picks it up and starts using it in everyday speech. The funny thing, at least in my view, is that people who try to do personal branding aren’t actually doing anything. They’re just regurgitating information that’s all around them. Whatever it is they think they’re doing, its just adding noise.
“So why is this post was about Personal Branding. So far all you’ve done is ramble on about Twitter!”
Okay, point taken. Now let me get to that.
“Personal Branding” is a fad, a phenomena, a flash in the pan. But YOU are a person. YOU exist in reality without any need for a “brand”. YOU carried on just fine before – just as you will after – the invention of Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube or whatever. If you are simply you – the same smart, like-able, hard-working person you’ve always been – then you’ll never have to worry yourself about ridiculous, impossible-to-define, buzzworthy terms like “Personal Branding”. You simply won’t.
If everything you do online is a fabrication, a figment of your imagination, then your “Personal Branding” efforts are bound to fail. Building a personal brand is like saying you going to develop your personality. You can’t be something you’re not. You can only reveal something that you are. No matter what platform is ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘the new thing’. You can only fabricate reality for so long. Just look at “The Hills” or “John & Kate Plus 8″. If the heart isn’t there, it can’t last.
So that, my friends is “Personal Branding”. If you ever hear someone say “You really need to develop your personal brand!”, just laugh at them. Be yourself, share it with people who care, and let the “social media experts” waste their own time.
Dear Gov. Dave Heineman,
Please consider the following:
1) Online voting is not an accurate way of measuring public opinion. Voting systems are routinely manipulated. In this case, its fairly obvious that this plate was not chosen by popular vote, but as a prank by those who mock the idea.
2) Although a license plate’s primary function is to assist law enforcement, it is by all measures of common sense a reflection of the state of Nebraska. Not only creatively (as a measure of our artistic ability) but economically, agriculturally, historically, and culturally.
3) This plate design indicates to the rest of the country that Nebraska just doesn’t care – and that’s the real misfortune. Above all, we should feel proud of what we do in Nebraska and equally proud of our image.
Of course you can’t “please all of the people, all of the time” but at least you can look like you tried. Nebraskans deserve better.
So as I’m searching Twitter (using http://search.twitter.com) for the trending top #swineflu, I notice something pretty obvious. Twitter users are popping up with names like @AboutSwineFlum, @swinefluh1n1, @swineflualerts and @swineflucast. Apparently these users are creating accounts to directly relate to a trending topic – very clever. But how will this affect Twitter as a news source in the future?
Right now when a hot new topic comes up it rapidly becomes a trend on twitter. Searching the topic returns primarily relevant data from real people. If ‘trendbots’ take over every new trend, will it drown out the tweets from human users? Can Twitter prevent users from essentially spamming a trending topic by tweeting the same message and hashtag over and over? Will this tactic ultimately dilute the relevance of Twitter search?
I don’t know. But I’m guessing it will cause some backlash from Twitter users. I’m already finding it irritating only minutes from noticing the trend.
Examples of the spammy user accounts: