Everyone has a brand…
Jimmy Lipper and Susie Hipster pull out their phones and starts scrolling through all of their social media apps. Some of their thoughts go like this:
“Nope. I don’t want to buy your weight loss products.”
“Ugh. Does she always have to post something like that?”
“Stop it, crazy aunt Cheryl. I don’t want to play Candy Crush and your inspiring quotes should be put on your mirror, not Facebook.”
“Nice, Bobby is trying to push us to buy a house again with his ads.”
“Why do I even waste my time with this- it’s all garbage and annoying people.”
Sound like some familiar thoughts? It probably does because I think if you’re human, you’ve been there and can relate. This is not an article or opinion about the dangers and downfalls of social media so if you’re looking for a cynical take on why the world is ending and social media is the ruination of us all, sorry- please stop reading.
This is much more of a practical outlook on why we do what we do as humans and how to try and kick the cynical cycle we go through.
First, let’s start with the question “what’s the point?” Well, for most people, the point is to stay in the know. Innately, humans have a natural fear of being left out. Think back to your elementary days, how bad did it sting when you heard about what the ‘cool kids’ did together over the weekend and you didn’t get invited? Stung like Grandma’s arm pinches. Bad. Even more instinctual and animalistic, think about your dog (cats aren’t real animals), when you are doing something in a group or the other animals are doing something, where does the dog instinctually go? 90% of them (check my statistics) go to where the group is. It’s group theory, mob mentality, whatever other similar things, you name it. For most, it’s the natural instinct to want to stay up to date, even though they may not be directly involved.
For others, the point is simply to try and grow a passion, grow a business, or just share their work with the world. The old heads out there will say, “man, times are different. Everyone has a “me” first attitude and wants to be seen. I never would’ve gotten away with this stuff.” In some respects, that’s true. At the core though, it’s not. How did people sell “back in the day?” They put ads out, they gave out pens, hats, told their neighbors, conversed in churches, hallways, bars, etc. So at the core, it’s the same thing, right? We just now have the capability to communicate a message or cause to anyone at any time we want. The best part is the other side, the consumer, now has the ability to either listen and engage or move on.
To summarize, the point of it all can be one more than just either of these, but in general, these are what people fall under when it comes to social media and the purpose as to why they have it. I’m curious and gathering info on this so please leave a comment on why you use it or what you intend with it (or just shoot me a message).
Second, let’s revert back to the cynical thoughts of Mr. Lipper and Mrs. Hipster. Why would it bother us on a social platform if someone is trying to pitch a product or system? With one click or swipe, it’s out of the picture, out of mind…
“But, they do it ALL the time. It’s annoying!” says Mrs. Hipster.
Okay, so unfollow or mute the person or style of post. Simple. My belief and take is two-fold: while it may be annoying or something I simply don’t care about doesn’t make it wrong or worthless and further yet, it doesn’t make that person dumb or worth any less as a human. I also believe this reflects more on us as the one saying “you’re annoying” or “I’m so sick of you.” Deeper inside, I think there’s something we wish we would do, but we don’t so there’s either a small amount of jealous ambition or inadequate reflection (I’m sure there’s a psychology word for this- forgive me).
Think of it like this- using the weight loss or program example (most relatable)- if your friend worked at a normal store like GNC, would you be just as sick of it if you visited them at work? No- I answered for you. So don’t let it bother you on social platforms. This goes for any business. The beauty of today’s world is that it doesn’t matter if you’re 67 or 14, you have the same opportunity and level playing field so take it in stride and seize the opportunity. I’ve been the cynic many times, I didn’t like me and I think if you’re in that boat, you’d say the same.
Last, someone posting or building a brand as a person is not sinful and something that we should all do. My grandpa doesn’t do the social media thing, but he has a brand and he doesn’t even know it. Sure, he has business cards and a shop, but his brand is his reputation and how he has dealt business over the last 50 years. The people, companies, circles that know him recognize him for what he’s built over time. Will everyone have the same opinion and feel the same about him? No, something would be wrong if that was the case. But I would venture to say that most would use similar adjectives to describe him. He has a brand.
So just be you. Whether you have 40, 400, 4,000, or 4,000,000 likes/friends/followers, you have a brand and a reputation. The two are interchangeable. For me personally, I would like to think that my reputation is similar in how people would describe me, good- bad- indifferent- the same. This also means you have influence and can make a difference or build a difference.
“Everyone is trying to be an influencer though and make money online. It’s toxic,” says Mr. Lipper.
Yes, there are a lot of fakes, phonies, and people vying for the same attention and some fake it to try and make it. That shouldn’t matter. If you stay in your lane, focus on you and helping those around you, you can’t lose because you did it right. The fakes and hacks always get exposed- just like they did back in the day during the wild wild west.
Embrace your personal brand and build for something bigger than a few bucks or a million views. Build something that matters because you matter. If you don’t want to and you’re more comfortable just scrolling, do that… just don’t complain or be cynical about the ones doing it.
Now, that the stage is set, here are 3 practical steps to changing your cynicism to support:
1. Take Notice of your cynical thoughts and comments
When you start feeling irritable, angry, and making snide comments about someone or their content, ask yourself- why do I feel this way? I ask it out loud to myself so I can then talk through it. I’m not crazy- it’s healthy… and it’s science.
2. Politely unfollow or mute posts
There is nothing wrong with finally hitting unfollow or mute. If you literally can’t handle what you’re seeing, then it’s time to do so. There’s no shame. Think of it like TV, if you don’t want your kids watching certain channels, sometimes the best and easiest way to get rid of them is to block them.
3. Embrace your personal brand and reputation
Step into either engaging in the way you want (I prefer positive, funny, and helpful), but you do you. Be the real you because we all know the true nature of what’s happening so own it and just be you. Authenticity wins all hearts, not some. People love real people, not perfect people. That doesn’t mean share all your fights and drama for public consumption, but share what you’re comfortable with and embrace the fact that your reputation and brand depend on it and can be as big or small as you’d like.
I hope this encouraged you and gave you some practicality to what life is like in the social realm we live and breathe. In anything, try to be a contributor- not just a cynical consumer.
Please drop your thoughts in the comments or shoot me a message. Any feedback, additional value or critique is welcomed openly!