Branding Myself Without Losing Myself

Personal Branding
Getting personal with branding

In case you didn’t notice, I am in the middle of a redesign or reorganization of my blog.

After a year or more of collecting dust with a very lazily-modified Thesis theme (basically, I just changed the link colors), I decided I needed to make my website a little bit more personal. So, this is a work in progress. I might fire up Ye Olde Photoshoppe and design a header graphic one of these days. I may add some other icons or graphics here and there. I may leave it alone. We’ll see. What I’ve done so far is a result of a few hours of work late Saturday night while chair dancing to my Keri Hilson Pandora channel. (No, I don’t want to hear your judgements.) Besides, who knows when I’ll have free time again, given my exhaustive social calendar?

Feeling Dirty

I often struggle with branding myself online. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. I know what to do–I do it for my clients all the time. It’s just that I don’t want to do it for myself. Marketing myself makes me feel dirty. I feel at odds about there being a gigantic photo of myself in my sidebar. But I know something like that needs to be there.  Even though that photo is somewhat old, it’s the only one I have of myself looking sincerely into the camera (pro-tip: eye contact builds trust with the viewer). So, up it goes until I find a new photo to replace it.

Writing my bios (short and long form) are a gruesome process for me. I have no problems writing copy for clients about themselves, their business or product. Solving these problems for my clients are always so obvious, and come naturally and easily. But for me? The negative self-talk overwhelms the sane strategic advice I use with clients. Perhaps this is because I struggle between wanting to be something society thinks I should be (typical American Rat Race at work), and being my authentic self.

That sidebar bio? It originally began with something dry and generic. I hate the idea of my job defining who I am as a person. I am so much more than a job title, self-employed or not. Yet, my bio statement opened up with what I do for a living. So, I flipped it. The revised statement is a nod to Romy and Michelle, and guess what? It’s sarcastic. But, I’m sarcastic.

The Future of My Blog

Recently I completed some blog re-organizing and SEO work for a client, BrothaTech. I had an exhaustive checklist of things I knew I needed to fix  on his blog, and I gave him a list of things to do. After checking my list twice and reviewing my completed work, I realized I don’t do half of these things on my blog. Not even close. Basic SEO strategies were being ignored. Advanced strategies as well. Meanwhile, this place is collecting dust, and my tumblr has surpassed my main blog in traffic. That’s when my wheels started turning.

One thing I’ve struggled with this blog is the idea of turning it into my “business” blog where all I do is write about tech. I love tech. I love being a nerd. But that’s not all I am. I like to travel. I like writing. I like media and entertainment. I love documenting and sharing. The idea of turning a site named after me into a blog solely about tech and social media feels like a disservice to who I am. Everyone else does it, but I can’t. It’s not me. I considered opening a new blog, and writing only about tech over there. I thought this was a good idea because then I could be a “founder” of a dotcom, since I see people being listed as founders of dotcoms. But these dotcoms are typically basic blogs (dusty ones, if you ask me). Anyway, I decided against that. I don’t want to segment myself and my audience. The title isn’t worth it, and I think this approach is somewhat obnoxious (for me).

I found a solution. Write about everything I love, and be my authentic self. Here. I’ll have a business site for business/portfolio purposes I can refer people to if I have to. But everything can coexist here, with some fancy organizing. I’ll make re-organizing my content a priority over design tasks, and I’ll work towards pumping out content regularly here. After all, being and writing as my authentic self is what brought me my original clients years ago when I had no idea what being a new media consultant was or would entail.

Hope you can keep up.

Music + Location + Tech: Mapping Memories with @theGRAMMYs

Jay Z MusicMapper tagJust a quick note to let you know my first post for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards season is up on GRAMMY.com! The post is titled, “Map Your Music Memories,” and in the post I review the pretty spiffy MusicMapper app The Recording Academy launched earlier this month. I think the iPhone app is cool (it’s also available on Android phones), but the website that goes with it is even cooler: MusicIsLifeIsMusic.

When I was in LA earlier this month I had a chance to meet with some folks at The Recording Academy, and they are looking to add new features to the site and app in the coming months. One thing I’ve learned about working with them, they’re always full of surprises, especially as the awards get closer and closer 🙂

Right now I have tagged about 45 songs on the global map. You can check out my timeline here and get all up in my music memory business.

Thoughts on the New Facebook Profile + Profile Security

I kinda like the new photostrip across the top on the new Facebook profile. But, it’s bizarre that they let me “control” which photos show up (by crossing out the ones I don’t want to show up), since a different set of photos show up depending on  the visitor of your page. My set looks different from a friend, looks different from a friend of a friend, looks different from a stranger.

I think I’d prefer to be able to place my Top 5 photos, kinda like a throwback to the MySpace Top 8. Only more self-serving.

Speaking of top friends, I don’t like my friends list along the left column. In the old iteration I selected 9 people to always be there when I load my profile. I can’t do that anymore. Now it’s all random. I liked this feature so I could remember to go to certain people’s profiles (i.e. I don’t care about anyone else).

A friend demo’d Firesheep to me in Starbucks recently. He took over my Facebook profile through his browser, posted on my wall, and who knows what else he did to my profile. He could read my messages, add friends for me, maybe even read the chats I was in (not sure about that one). Even after we parted ways, and he took his laptop home, he was still able to access my profile and use it (probably because he  never closed his browser session). It’s an interesting experiment. You guys should really use HTTPS Everywhere when you’re out on public WiFi.

I’m a GRAMMY Community Blogger–Again!

the 53rd GRAMMY AwardsI’ve been keeping a secret for some time now and I guess it is finally time to let it all hang out. I have been invited to be a Blogger At Large for the 53rd GRAMMY Awards! You may remember that I was a GRAMMY Community Blogger At Large earlier this year for the 52nd GRAMMY Awards, and I am honored to be invited back for their blogger program for the ceremony in February 2011.

Sooo, what does this mean exactly? Well, as Blogger At Large I will be writing content for GRAMMY.com, attending related events (including the 53rd GRAMMY Awards and the official After-Party!), and I’ll be tweeting about these events and blogging about my experiences. I am so excited about this! I had so much fun this year, and this is such an awesome opportunity. I really dig what The Recording Academy is doing with bloggers because it’s not just simply flying us out for a one night event. We get to write content for GRAMMY.com, attend several events, and we work together for a few months leading up to the ceremony.

You might be wondering why I’m involved, as most of the other bloggers in the program are music bloggers. Well, specifically I will be writing content focusing on the social media aspect of the 53rd GRAMMY Awards and related events. I’ll be reviewing their mobile app, talking to staff about their marketing campaign (and its use of social media), and I’ll be covering scheduled events from the perspective of a web nerd. I think I am good at being a web nerd, right? I got this!

First up, I am flying to LA tonight so I can go to “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!” tomorrow night. I didn’t get to go to this last year, so this will be my first time! I’m excited to be back in LA and working with my friends over at The Recording Academy. On Thursday, I’ll be at The Recording Academy interviewing staff about their social media projects and tech initiatives for the 53rd GRAMMY Awards. I usually get a sneak peek at a lot of their projects, and they always have awesome secrets for me to keep 🙂  Last year’s campaign was quite impressive, so I am anxious to see what they have in store this year.

Anyway, be sure to follow me on Twitter, as a lot of my GRAMMY info will be there first!

You should also watch this tomorrow night:

The GRAMMY Nominations Concert LIVE!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night

LL Cool J will host and Justin Bieber, B.o.B, Miranda Lambert, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry will perform live on Dec 1st (10/9c) on CBS.

#GRAMMYNoms is our official hashtag, so make sure you follow it on Twitter.