Here is the social media log I kept during the first week of May to track my social media use in order to learn about the effects that modern personal branding trends have had on my own digital use. I will admit that tracking all of my social media use not only was hard to keep track off, but also forced me to be brutally honest with myself. Typing things like “used snapchat to come off as studious to my followers” or “woke up early to post an Instagram at a good time for receiving likes” led me to really question myself and how I have allowed social media to take over my life. As found in my research on personal branding, our society has become obsessed with representing ourselves as a perfect brand to our followers.
We are consumed by perfecting our social media presence in order to tailor how we appear to our followers. We use personal branding as a platform for marketing ourselves as a brand in order to differentiate ourselves from our friends, in other words, our competition. Because this is my first log for the month, I want this post to be more about my initial reactions to the experience and how I am feeling in regards to the amount of my social media use related to perfecting my own personal brand. Looking back on the week I spent seven hours of my time solely just building my brand via Instagram. I am obsessed with posting photos for my followers to keep up to date with my experiences while in Australia. But why? What brand am I aiming for? I am striving to represent myself as a girl who is up to date with the trends based on the places I am traveling to throughout Australia. I am building the idea that I am adventurous, cultural, inspired, as well as some what spoiled to be quite frank.
I hate typing that. I hate associating my world with spoiled. After this past week, however, I have noticed not only how obsessed I am with social media but why I am doing it. I am doing it to compete with my friends. To all of my friends that are graduating, I want to appear lucky to still have a year left, while spending a full semester abroad. I want to appear stylish and edgy in my posts to show my followers that I fit in here, or at least am trying to. I am essentially bragging about my travels because I want to appear somewhat better than my other friends who are traveling in other countries for a semester abroad. Even if my 7am-9pm travel day in Melbourne on Saturday consisted of hours of driving, sleeping between stops and pure exhaustion, I only showed my followers the perfect points of my day via snapchat and Instagram. That is the simplistic way to define personal branding in modern adolescent terms. I want to show my life as flawless to my followers, despite how exhausting my midterms and travels were throughout the week.
So that is how personal branding is defined in regards to my life. It is my own personal way of shaping how I appear to my friends and family and coworkers etc. I am documenting my trips in order to build my personal brand for situations like an employer looking me up on social media and being pleasantly surprised by my travels at a such a young age. I am constantly thinking about what others think because quite honestly that is the world we now live in. Next week I look forward to seeing if there are any changes in my social media use now that I know how consumed I am with the idea of branding myself.