A discussion broke out on the twittertubes and spilled over onto a couple of blogs, about the nature of branding etc... Rather than trying to pull that all together (read Luke's take on it), I just wanted to dump my thoughts on the subject in >140chars.
I was on a panel at the Making Sense of Social Media conference last month, where I shared my recent experience with being googled by a journalist and shoe-horned into the "raving opinionated blogger" slot in a story he was putting together. Someone else on the panel mentioned that I had built up a robust brand, through my blogging and photos, and that personal branding was what made these things possible.
I was stunned. Personal branding?
That phrase makes my skin crawl. It's about as relevant to what I do as "markets," "consumers" and "monetization". It distills human interaction into a simple produce-consume transaction, where all we bring to the table is our ability to either create new content, or consume the content of others.
But, to me, this stuff is about so much more than that. This "social media" stuff. It's not about content. It's not about producing or consuming. It's about creating. It's about connecting.
Could it be perceived as "branding"? I suppose. But only by someone who only primarily valued the productification of everything and everyone. I may be hopelessly naÃ¯veï»¿, but I see the products as by FAR the least interesting aspect of "social media."