I have realised that, increasingly, there are things people do on this social and digital media driven world that do not make sense to me. Actually, not just in the man-made cloud universe but also in the physical realm, but this isn’t about that. This confusion is made even more complicated because there are times when I inadvertently do some things that feel very much like the actions that don’t make sense to me.
As a professional working in different industries, including building communities around brands, using primarily content and communications strategies, sharing is an important part of what I do. On a daily basis, I am emailing, posting on social media, blogging, doing presentations, etc, all in a bid to position my work, and my capacity to do work, in particular spaces. At the same time, my work has birthed a bit of a public profile that I am often not sure how to interact with.
The primary reason for this confusion is that I was taught that, in your professional/business life, the focus should be on working hard (and smart), delivering beyond expectations, and striving to be the best at what you do, while creating a legacy.
And now we live in the era of the ‘person as a brand’, which is something I struggle with because I view myself as a ‘human being, being human’, making decisions about my life – professional and otherwise – as a human, not as ‘a brand’. We spend our days hyping ourselves up on social media and lobbying for support, votes, attention, likes and any other affirmation we can get from the world. In doing so, we seem to forget the simplest part of the equation, which is actually doing some work. I’m not the only one who feels this way, check Stop Asking Me About Your Personal Brand, and Start Doing Some Work by Gary Vaynerchuk.
In an article by ReadThisThing on How To Be An Internet-First Journalist, they say, “Don’t focus on building a brand so that people respect your work; do work that people respect and a brand will follow.”
I still believe that you should ‘let your work speak for itself’ and that, if you do this, whatever attention or acclaim you desire will follow. And even if it does, you will have created work worthy of a life lived fully. Perhaps that is an outdated view in a contemporary, digital world but it’s all I’ve got.