One day a couple of weeks ago, I started off the morning on Twitter with these questions:
Do you think personal branding can go too far? Is success worth losing your true self?
I got some very interesting responses:
norcross: I think the whole idea of PB is flawed if it involves anything that isnt who you really are. reputation is what counts.
PaughGinney: When everything you do sounds like a sales pitch … That’s a tell-tale sign.
rikin311: I agree I think alot of people especially in this GenY crowd are sacrificing long term reputation for short term gains.
I think there’s so much more to be said on this subject, so I’ll share my take and then open it up to all of you. To answer my own questions: Do I think personal branding can go too far? Yes. Is success worth losing your true self? Definitely not. Everyone has different goals, different reasons for blogging and getting involved in social media. As members of the blogosphere, we have to market ourselves to some degree if we want people to read our blogs. Degree is the key word, and how we go about promoting ourselves and our work can affect both our success, and how others perceive us.
If you’re an entrepreneur, and your blog is part of your business strategy, then personal branding is part of the equation as well. But, if you blog because you love to write, or want to connect with people and become part of a community, then self promotion shouldn’t be your top priority. Let’s be honest, we all want success. It’s human nature to seek approval and crave recognition. Truth is, I was incredibly honored and excited to make Ryan Stephens’ list of Top 10 Gen Y Blogs last month. Being on that list was proof that I’m doing something right over here at Life’s Chocolates. It’s evidence that even those who brand themselves very little still get recognized by the community. It’s so easy to become consumed by creating a name for yourself, that you can lose your true self in the process. Believe it or not, people notice. We may never meet each other in real life, but if I did a complete personality 180, you would know. So, remember that there are many ways our content can affect our readers.
I blog because I love to write. I write candidly and honestly about my life because I want you to be able to learn from my experiences. Sure, I promote my posts on Twitter, but not to excess. I don’t have a Facebook fan page, my number of Twitter followers has been slowly approaching 500 for a while now, and I’ve never had a post receive more than 20 comments. But, that’s okay with me. In fact, that’s great! If a post touches one person, I consider it a success. If I get one RT, I’m excited. It’s not that I’m setting low expectations or goals for myself because I don’t think I can do better. I have complete faith in myself, but I also truly value each one of you and what you have to say. I know some of you are regular readers, but you never leave a comment, and that’s cool. As long as you’re getting something from this blog that keeps you coming back. Here’s the bottom line: When you come to this blog, you get the real me, every time, and you always will. If you ever feel differently, please let me know, because that’s the last thing I want.
Now it’s your turn to answer some questions. Again, the first two were: Do you think personal branding can go too far? Is success worth losing your true self? Rikin also followed up with this question on Twitter: So, when you do think someone’s going too far in their PB, what do you do?