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  • mono 8:04 pm on September 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Marketing and Advertising, personification, sarah batterby, , Virtual community, word up   

    A Living Fluidity 

    Sara Batterby’s article Brand Personification is a concise look at the living fluidity that one’s brand undergoes through the use of social media and search engine dissemination. It is also a call to recognize the “human” element of branding.

    Batterby writes, “Brands, like us, have no meaningful existence outside of the constantly changing perceptions, interactions and relationships that they share with others. They must learn to see themselves this way. Through the eyes of their virtual community.”

    Branding in an online world is subject to fluxuations, relationship building and collaboration, noise, and spread. One’s brand identity shifts and becomes unstable through interaction (or non-interacation) with others. It is no longer paid advertising, but publicity (i.e. conversations), that sway a brand to the ranks of the favorable or unfavorable. People have a voice and it counts consequentially. Moreover, it is the one who spends time with the work that counts, the one who helps construct our brand by making it apart of who they are.

    The virtual communities that one is apart of communicates to others a part of who one is. The online identity of the brand is caught up within these micro-conversations, this labryinth of interconnectedness.

    Batterby goes on to write , “This fluidity of what constitues the brand has given it a living quality that is more akin to our own existence and this should give us some insight into what to do about it.” Some companies are recognizing this and have joined the conversation. Directors, writers and artists using services such as Twitter to connect with others have put themselves into a vulnerable, albeit necessary state – they have embraced the human element of their brand.

    We knew all along that behind the facade of the brand lurked real flesh-and-blood humans, but now, the facade is fading before our eyes and many brands are using social media, engaging with others and changing the way that we interact with and view their brand. Also, this flux has, in general, gone on to transform what used to be an online “profile” into a brand, a virtualization of the self.

    Batterby ends by asking the deceptively simple question, “If your brand was a person, what kind of person would you want it to be?” Look within. Look without. Listen to the conversation. Listen to your self. Who are you?

    Sara Batterby is the editor of WORD UP!.

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    • Sara Batterby 1:34 am on September 30, 2008 Permalink

      Thanks for expanding on the idea. I enjoyed your comments.

  • mono 8:38 pm on September 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Media Ecology, , , , , Virtual community   

    Fame and Social Media: A Fragment 

    Emil CioranImage via Wikipedia Why are so many people, myself included, connecting to and engaging in online communities? Are “listening to the conversation” and “sharing,” the two main reasons that many of us participate in social media? Perhaps, it’s the spreading of “personal branding” that excites us, gives us the chance to personally manage and influence our online reputation. Or, is it something different? In an essay written in 1964 entitled, “Fame: Hopes and Horrors,” E.M. Cioran writes, “If each of us were to confess his most secret desire, the one that inspires all his plans, all his actions, he would say: ‘I want to be praised.’ No one will make such a confession, for it is less shameful to commit an abomination than to proclaim so pitiable and so humiliating a weakness, looming out of a feeling of solitude and insecurity from which both the fortunate and the rejected suffer with equal intensity (107).” Is Cioran’s way of thinking relevant to today’s flux of social networking sites?

    What is it about social networking sites that fuel our desire to engage, to discuss or to network with unknown others? Perhaps, for some, it is the lust for “information,” having to keep abreast of new technological developments and web applications. The rush of being the first person to blog about a new development or news story constantly flows through my Twitter feed. It is impossible to engage in a “real” conversation through the use of micromedia, all one can do is comment or summarize. However, beneath the visual interface of the application, how do we communicate through these tools and how do they serve to influence our sense of self? Before writing this article, I announced through Twitter that I was about to start this article. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time and it provided a sense of connectedness to some larger body of people. What was my purpose, though, in sending that Tweet? How strange to think about how “connected” we all are through the interface of these machines. Perhaps, “deep down” we can relate to Cioran. How wonderful it would have been, had someone thought to write back a short reply, praising my efforts or showing some interest toward the endeavor. No one did. There is a kind of self-pride that flows through the use of these sites, an inflated sense of who we think we are and who we want ourself to be. Nonetheless, having 5,000 followers on Twitter doesn’t have anything to do with any kind of “conversation,” only noise.

    The wish to be praised seems such a harmless one. The validation that occurs at a live performance or after a great speech fills the performer with a sense of validation and, perhaps, with the lust for more. Why do so many people want to be on TV, even as an extra in a non-speaking role? Is it because the work is easy? Is it because the pay is decent for the amount of work done? It seems that the world of TV gives one the chance to enter into a hyper-version of reality, a reality that feels more real than real. Why does it make people so happy to watch the misfortune of others through the interface of the screen?

    In a productive society, the will to be creative, the drive to create and shape things, brings happiness. The sharing of those things with others also brings happiness, but in what ways? Is it the pure giving of the creation to another, a pure selfless act? Or, is it the feeling of pride that one gets when one gives the object to the other person? In Japan, when someone gives a gift, it is common to say something like “This is a boring gift for you.” Although, in native Japanese, the expression doesn’t translate as harshly as when put into English, the meaning is basically the same. The gift is verbally degraded, although it is probably a very nice or thoughtful present. This degrading of oneself is common in this situation. The recipient of the gift should praise the gift and the gift-giver. One only needs to look at the glimmer in the eye of the giver to see the happiness that comes from giving and the happiness that comes from being praised.

    Is the way out of this flux, simply to turn off the computer and disconnect from the applications? Does this need to be praised surface in all other areas of our life? Is this our lot in life? If so…

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    • triptophren 2:24 am on December 18, 2008 Permalink

      The more i look at that picture the more it seems he is posing…

      The association you made is very interesting because i think it combines the surface reasons (the main two reasons), everybody will acknowledge with the psychological reasons Cioran has described.
      Because of the permanent hurry people are in, most of which is due to the times we live in (information age, blabla), few will lose any time to analyze the deeper reasons for their actions and even fewer will accept them for what they are.

      You say that: “The wish to be praised seems such a harmless one, but think about it from a broader point of view. How, let’s say, a famous dictator, will look like from this perspective? Or any famous writter of any sorts?
      As any of us are, they were probably interested about how many people red their books and what they thought about it.
      And this is where we are now. In a way it makes us more conscious of ourselves, more available.
      It can also mean that we are somewhat vulnerable.

  • mono 9:10 am on April 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Art of Worldly Wisdom, , , , Control, Haunted, , , , , , Virtual community   

    Controlling the Imagination 

    Photo by Norma Desmond

    Baltasar Gracian, in his book “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” writes, “Keep your imagination under control. You must sometimes correct it, sometimes assist it. For it is all important for our happiness and balances reason. The imagination can tyrannize, not being content with looking on, but influences and even often dominates our life (Gracian 15).”

    Our imagination covers over and creates what we call our “daily life.” The bubbling emergence of images, sounds, voices and ideas well up and overflow through the imagination. Our social networking and online identities also take shape in the imagination we have of how we would like to be perceived, how we would like to see ourselves through the eyes of others. The imagination is all-powerful, perhaps one of the most powerful gifts we have. Minds have imagined iPods and atomic bombs, mobile phones and the Tokyo Tower. The cityscape begins with imagination and is realized through imaginations. That is, a city or on online community is only as powerful as the imaginations that gather there.

    Our cities and Web communities are convergent points, networks of imagination. Through Twitter, I can imagine the other and, moreover, am forced to imagine them, for they are not here with me. Their voice points me to links, to ideas or perhaps only to an imagination of a simple part of their day (eating breakfast, preparing for bed, etc.) The facebook profile as well requires imagination and perhaps I imagine some “you” that you have not yet imagined.

    However, the imagination has a way of haunting humans as well. Perhaps we have all experienced the recurrence of a certain image, a kind of film that flashes before one’s eyes, a film that we would rather turn off and forget about, a film that comes from the other side, from the abyss of the imagination. The fear of the hacker is not only fear of monetary loss, but also the terrifying image of one’s identity being manipulated…having someone else’s imagination manipulate oneself.

    This morning my friend asked me if I was ever haunted by something and how can one deal with an overactive imagination. I turned to Gracian’s wisdom of controlling the imagination and recognizing the haunting image as being imagined. When the haunting image is recognized as imaginary, perhaps it can bring some solace to the day. Perhaps one can move out and sweep the floor or fold the clothes with some new peace. Moreover, a controlled and balanced imagination may help one to create better art, music or text. That is, a more precise imagination may be cultivated and striven for.

    How can we imagine ourselves into a better life? Is the life that we are leading the best possible life? How has one’s imagination of oneself served to shape that self in actuality? Can we imagine ourselves and our situation in a different and possibly more fulfilling way? Perhaps this is worthy of our attention.

     
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