Tag Archives: personal branding

Who do you say you are online?

elysium design utopia

Personal branding is something we all interact with in this digital age, whether consciously or not.  Creating a username for a site you sign up to is one of the simplest ways this can play out: that username you choose is meant to reflect you, your identity, and act as an identifier for others, alerting them to your posts and interactions.  Further signifiers such as your profile picture/dp/avatar and bio boxes solidify this identity, giving other people more information about the online persona.

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Let’s take a look at my own twitter profile and what I believe it says about me:

  • Cover photo/Background image: My cover photo was chosen because it reflects a moment of me accomplishing something huge; climbing up to the top of a dormant volcano, despite stress and anxiety at being unfit comparatively to the rest of my family.  While not all those who visit my profile know this backstory…

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Performance of Online Identity

Our social media profiles provide a platform to tell a narrative about a subject we have the ultimate authority on: Ourselves.  So how does this tie into branding?  As highlighted earlier, “branding is not the logo, it is not the name, but rather it is a conceptual idea, which gives consumers ‘something to believe in.” (Turner, 2015).  Placing this into a personalised context, it means that our  digital identity is not based solely on our avatars, usernames, and bios; it is formed around what we utilise our platforms for, what message we communicate though our tweets, our Instagram pictures, our status updates on Facebook.  The avatar/username/bios form a quick overview, while the content we publish allows the audience to get a better understanding of who we are. “In essence, our online selves represent our ideals and eliminate many of our other real components.” (Green, 2013)

Are our online identities accurate reflections of who we are as a whole?  Do we successfully communicate the way we understand and approach life through our digital profiles?  Or do we instead present a false construction of ourselves online?  One of the ideas I suggested in my post about branding and transmedia, is that perhaps our online identity varies across different platforms, together creating a larger narrative of the self, but also existing separately, without the need of information from another network.

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If we are displaying different aspects of ourselves through different social networks, it becomes clear that we are curating our online presence for different audiences.  Our representation of self, although only an aspect of our identity is still a vital part of it, not making it any less valid than a social network which includes all possible information in one space; but rather targeted towards a more specific audiences.

“When an individual plays a part he implicitly requests his observers to take seriously the impression that is fostered before them. They are asked to believe that the character they see actually possesses the attributes he appears to possess, that the task he performs will have the consequences that are implicitly claimed for it, and that, in general, matters are what they appear to be.” (Erving Goffman, 1959)

We enter into the social media space, assuming that the content published is an accurate representation of oneself, in some way; however when the narrative presented conflicts with itself, the authenticity has been lost.  Davis (2010) suggests that we “preemptively alter our offline selves in order to authentically convey ourselves online in a particular way”,  which is an interesting concept if we acknowledge that we present different aspects of ourselves through different social networks.  If we are trying to authentically portray ourselves, do we lose authenticity if we omit certain aspects of our lives? I would argue that this is not the case, and Owen’s (2011) takes the idea of authenticity and how showing different aspects of self in different environments is still an authentic representation of ourselves: “James is an honest man and also kind. At the funeral of his wicked uncle, he will not be honest about his thoughts about the deceased, in order to be kind to the feelings of the rest of his family. […] Our identities are not socially universal.”  As such, we perform for different audiences, we aim to create a highly curated feed of information about ourselves, which is specifically directed at an audience, with similar interests, similar personality types, similar ideals.

As some extra food for thought; if we portray a different element of our overall identity on digital platforms, and chose to invest in AI technology after we died, would that mean our varied social presences would generate a number of vastly different versions of ourself as a result of the content we have access to?

Discussion on Personal Branding

elysium design utopia

*This is a continued conversation from the discussion about Online Branding*

Branding doesn’t necessarily have to relate only to corporate identities, meaning it can apply to personal identities as well.  Each of us are a part of our connected, digital age, partaking in different forms of social media, creating an online presence documenting what we want others to see – essentially curating our own personal branding.  This is an important aspect in our digital age, to the point where celebrities have a publicity team who help them to collate their online presence in order to further their personal brand.  This can also mean that the online personal brand does not necessarily match up to the reality of the person, as you are presenting, a part of, or an idea of you in order to further the presence.  This is because we focus on strengths rather than a full picture…

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BRANDING AND TRANSMEDIA

elysium design utopia

Brands are essentially a universe of their own.  They tell a story, they deliver an idea, all with the intent for you to listen to them, to engage with them, to buy their products, or subscribe to their service.  My prezi explores how transmedia can be utilised within branding strategies, looking at case studies of Melbourne Metro’s Dumb Ways To Die, and Childish Gambino’s Because The Internet.  I also pose the question of whether or not our personal branding/online presence is a transmedia narrative in itself.

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BRANDING AND TRANSMEDIA PREZI

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Online Branding and Power: Who has control over the presence?

So in my last post, I set up my ideas of branding, and started to explore how the concept related to cyberculture.  That post was a great foundation leading into the next leg of research: a series of questions about how these brands interact with users, and what the future could also hold.

Cybercultures allows for a great deal of interaction between brand and consumer, but I question who really has the most control?  The internet is a great space for open communication, but does that tip the balance of control in the opposite direction to where it has typically been.  The lecture on Cyberpunks let me consider this idea, in relation to users who have that power and choose to abuse it – trolls who are interacting with brands for the sole purpose of derailing the brand image.  The ‘trollpunk‘ audience hijacks the presence of the brand with the intention to disrupt the hierarchy of power, (Chen 2012) and this is becoming a social norm.  Chris’s comments in the wk4 lecture: “[I]n the absence of the body, means people can have powerful emotional responses” (Moore 2016), could also lead into this idea, of having heightened emotional responses. The lack of physical, real time presence means there is this time to plan, curate, and execute never-ending arguments – either to troll, or to respond.

This idea of trolling leads me to consider online presences, and automatic responses, either from brand or consumer.  Twitter bots are quick and easy to set up, and could be used for a great number of things, but does this mean that we are heading towards an online social media network of artificial intelligence?  If twitter bots are becoming more accessible to create and utilise, and the responses are becoming more realistic, then does the future of online branding lie in a self evolving AI structure with base ideologies that mirror those of the brand, and evolve depending on the audience that interacts with them.  Microsoft’s recent attempt resulted in something they were not proud of, however it mirrored the idea of “destabilisation of established order by the development of artificial intelligence” (Moore 2016) as users interacted with the AI account in order to change it from an ‘innocent’ bot modelled after a teenage girl, into a nazi sex bot (Horton 2016).  The Barbie brand is also planning on peering into the cyberculture world, incorporating their dolls with AI so that children can have real conversations with the toys, adding a new layer to the identity of both the doll and their brand, creating a new brand presence through each doll as they are interacted with.

*FURTHER OPTIONAL READING ABOUT PERSONAL BRANDING AND IDEAS CAN BE FOUND HERE*

 


Chen, A 2012, Trollpunk is the New Cyberpunk, The World of Today, viewed 30 March 2016, <http://worldoftoday.tumblr.com/post/24514056899/trollpunk-is-the-new-cyberpunk&gt;

Gershgorn, D 2015, Barbie Learns to Chat Using Artificial Intelligence, Australian Popular Science, viewed 30 March 2016, <http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/artificial-intelligence/barbie-learns-to-chat-using-artificial-intelligence,409334&gt;

Horton, H 2016, Microsoft deletes ‘teen girl’ AI after it becomes a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours, The Telegraph, viewed 25 March 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/03/24/microsofts-teen-girl-ai-turns-into-a-hitler-loving-sex-robot-wit/&gt;

Moore, C 2016, Week Four – Experiencing Cyberculture, Cybercultures Blog, viewed 30 March 2016, <https://cyberculturesblog.wordpress.com/week-four-experiencing-cyberculture/&gt;

Shani, O 2015, From Science Fiction to Reality: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence, Wired, viewed 30 March 2016, <http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/01/the-evolution-of-artificial-intelligence/&gt;