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.

My Totally Awesome Interview with Tristan Walker

Soooo. I’ve been trying to work on my “writing career” slowly but surely. The latest chapter in this walk is my interview with the totally awesome Tristan Walker of FourSquare: “Square Biz: The Silicon Valley Hustle of Tristan Walker, VP of Biz Dev at FourSquare” I pitched this interview to The Atlanta Post months ago, and I finally finished it! Tristan is great, he really gives off a very inspiring vibe, and you can tell he really loves his job (I would love his job if I were him too!) Anyway, below is the intro, check out his story it’s really interesting for anyone pursuing a career in tech. I also asked him about diversity in tech and it was good to get his thoughts on the matter.

If you haven’t heard about mobile social startup FourSquare, then you must not be paying attention to the news, your TV or your local Starbucks. A location-based application for your phone, FourSquare is seen as the frontrunner among the crop of location-based services vying for your attention. In charge of business development over at FourSquare is Queens-bred Tristan Walker, a recent graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and former Wall Street oil trader turned tech shot-caller. Walker leads FourSquare’s partnership development with media, brands and retailers such as MTV, Bravo, American Eagle, CNN, The New York Times, Louis Vuitton, and VH1.

Walker talked with The Atlanta Post about what it’s like juggling a full-time exec-level position at a hot startup while simultaneously finishing up his MBA at one of the leading business programs in the country. Find out how he landed this position, how he became interested in the Silicon Valley hustle, and what he thinks about diversity in technology.

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Writing

I write about social media, technology, entrepreneurship, entertainment/celebrities, in other places besides my blog. Here are some pieces I have written around the web:

You have 17 drafts

I’ve been writing for the web as a blogger since before it was called blogging, and yet….I don’t blog regularly. In fact, I stopped blogging regularly before blogging was the new black. 

I had a long post written about my thoughts on blogging, and how I came to be the way I am. But then it got complicated. I almost saved it as a draft.

I know better.

I have 17 drafts already saved on my blog. Saving an entry as a draft is its kiss of death.

So I am going to publish this entry, because I am through with drafting and not publishing.

There’s always tomorrow.