Branding, and Its Problems

I’m in the middle of “rebranding” my online presence– I finally got tired of that damn smirky face always staring at me from the corner of my screen. Unfortunately, the last time I could take a skillful self-portrait was during an egotistical high school phase. So, for the present, you’ll see my ripped jeans hangin’ around the internet.

Also, I got a Twitter account. Frankly, I have no clue to use Twitter (sometimes I even say “twittering” instead of “tweeting” at the office, which is horribly embarrassing, mostly for everyone else), so I’ve been dorking out for the past two days and watching all kinds of free tutorials online. Look at me! Adapting!

But, okay, aside from my discomfort with fragmented Twitter communities and my distain for ultra-hip corporate PR advice,  my real problem with “branding” is, well, etymological. It refers to the process of burning one’s slaves and animals to mark them as your own. And although the method has changed, the motive has not: a good brand can be recognized anywhere. Which, funnily enough, was precisely what helped slaveowners to track down their runaway slaves.

Ricë Freeman-Zachery, the blogger behind Notes from the Voodoo Cafe (who also happens to be visually striking enough to not really need any “branding”), has a damn good rant about this whole concept of online branding, and what it means for the blurry line between internet and real life.

As for me, I’m happy enough to talk about “online presence” instead of “branding.” Although, my biggest client at the office is beginning a major rebranding and new product launch in a few months, so it’s pretty hard to avoid using the word. Sigh…

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2 Responses to “Branding, and Its Problems”


  1. 1 Naomi October 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Welcome to all the magic of the 21st century. Tweet tweet tweet.

    Give me a pen and piece of paper to write a letter, a spinning wheel, and something to make rather than a computer and a keyboard. Much as I appreciate good technology (no, 1 meg of memory is not all I need at work, no matter what they think), I also appreciate the real, rather than virtual, world.

  2. 2 Cole October 22, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Naomi:

    I’ll pull up a rocking chair beside you 🙂

    I’m convinced that this (tweeting) is a highly pragmatic move on my part. I don’t like it, but I’ll tweet a few times a week if it helps me network my way to new opportunities 🙂


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