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Notes on personal brands

Notes on personal brands

My name and my blog and my life have been intertwined for the last five years, which is really just a fraction of my life–but in 2015, it can seem like nothing existed before there was Google and Facebook there to confirm it.

When you Google my name, this life spills out in front of you. There are the photos I’ve taken and the articles I’ve written, the places I’ve been and the questions I’ve answered. The internet does not tell you the divorces in my family or show you my ex-boyfriends or give you any (real) indication of the life before the day where I bought a domain name and decided to start writing on the internet.

The thing about blogging about my life is that the two things become inordinately wrapped up in each other. My life is my blog and my blog is my life; when people stop liking one, I wonder if they have stopped liking the other. I sometimes tentatively search my name on GOMI, I worry that the tides will turn and people will leave and if my blog is over, well, what does that mean for the rest of it.

When something good happens–when BuzzFeed says that I am an “incredibly amazing woman who will inspire you,” an accolade that riles up the congratulations of the faint circle of friends who knew me before this blog and who keep in touch with me via my posts on social networks–I feel validated, albeit a bit of a fraud. I mean, it’s super cool, but it’s only because I know the editor and this is New York, it’s all about who you know, right?  

And then I daydream up a collaboration that will just be perfect, and I receive an decline email almost as soon as I send the pitch, the flat words immediately dashing my spirits and infusing my day with a flat sense of “not good enough.” Even though I’ve been on the other side of those words, even though I know the myriad factors that affect this strange world of influencer marketing and small businesses.

When a lot of people like one of my photos, I think: yes! A small digital symbol of people liking me! And liking my work! I am on the right track! When someone tells me that they’ve already hit their cap for working with bloggers this year and so maybe better luck next time, it’s hard not to take it as they just don’t want to work with me. Not my blog, but me as a person who tries really hard to be a good person to work with.

And, always, comparison is the thief of joy: something goes well for me, and I am happy, and then I see something go better for someone else, and I am defeated.

I don’t travel enough to keep up with the travel bloggers, I don’t have the overflowing closet to be a fashion blogger (yet I have too many things to be a minimalist), I don’t have the perfectly styled life worthy of being a lifestyle blogger. I eat and I cook and I enjoy both of those things very thoroughly, but I am not a food blogger. I don’t practice yoga every day and I don’t own a juicer and I am not a health blogger, overflowing with meditation and motivation and inspiration.

The thing about personal brands is that we’re trying to act like ourselves–our lives, our quirks, our likes and our dislikes, our relationships and our childhood, all of the little things that make us us–are a business entity that can be redesigned and dashed with a new color scheme and molded to fit the swinging shifts of customer opinion. We try to fit ourselves within the box that we’ve created for ourselves with nothing but a URL and a handle and a photo filter or a consistent emoji use. We only share broadly what fits within our brand, keeping parts of our individuality hidden completely or saved only for that inner circle of trust.

And so when I tell myself that personal brands are more business than not–that the highs have to be treated with the same attitude as the lows, that I can’t pick and choose what to take personally–in a sense, I have to pull out of the million strands intertwined of what is both and what is my blog but what is just simply me. And I have to keep a little of that life that is just mine, and not this blog’s, for me.

 

  • There are a lot of downsides to social media, and this issue is certainly one of them. I used to share everything a few years ago, now pretty much have retreated and share very little outside of work related posts/thoughts. I realized I was sharing/posting for the wrong reasons (attention), and put a stop to it. The older I get, the more I realize the people who truly matter to me are the people really worth sharing with…and there is need for social media to accomplish that. My inner circle of trust is everything, and if they get the same me as everyone else…well, that’s not really an “inner circle” then. My public and private lives are quite intertwined, but like you, I realize there needs to be a line somewhere.

  • Genny

    Great post, Christine!

  • Wise words! This is a really odd business isn’t it?

    Her Heartland Soul
    http://herheartlandsoul.com

  • Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Beautifully written, as always! Thanks for sharing your thoughts <3

  • Shannon Fabry

    Love

  • Briel79

    I’ve always been someone who wants to know more more more but I totally respect that everyone has their different boundaries and limits. I try to never feel like the people whose blogs I read owe me anything. I also try to respect that they have private lives (for example I’ve been debating requesting to be your friend on FB because I figure you may only use that for your more inner circle).

    This also brings to mind the podcast that Young House Love did recently (after not blogging for a year). http://jesslively.com/johnandsherry It was very interesting to hear their perspective on everything.

    Another great and thought provoking post! <3

  • It’s posts like this that make me love your blog, honestly: I love that you’re kind of between yet simultaneously encompassing a lot of niches? And that you write posts like this, where you see blogging/the internet/etc. for what it is – I feel like even amongst many of the bloggers I love, there isn’t that healthy dose of self-awareness. (It’s also something I need to remind myself of as a reader – because instinctually it’s all “oh man I love the way she writes and how her brain works and we would totally be friends” when in reality who in the hell knows?)

    In all seriousness: regardless of whether or not your personal brand is a large or small representation of your life, I think you’ve done a wonderful job building it into something positive (and, truly, something inspiring), and that’s a worthwhile accomplishment.

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  • camorose

    Thanks lady!

  • camorose

    It really is 🙂

  • camorose

    Thank you 🙂

  • camorose

    <3

  • camorose

    I actually really appreciate that–I do keep my personal Facebook limited to people who I’ve met in person and who I’m actually still friends with (aka I try to weed out people I never to talk to from college or whatnot). I always feel bad declining a request from a reader or a fellow blogger, but it’s not like I don’t make it SO easy to find out so much other stuff about my life! I do like having one little circle of the Internet that is a little more private. Will check out that podcast, thank you! xo

  • camorose

    Thank you, Melissa! I really and truly appreciate this comment on so many levels, so thank you for taking the time to write it–and to read my blog!

  • Laura

    Beautifully said, Christine. Thanks for sharing.

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  • camorose

    Thanks, Laura! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • monicasuma

    I couldn’t have said it better. So true, indeed. Especially the comparison part, unfortunately. Social media can many times be deceiving, too, in what we post and such.

  • This is a deeply authentic post and I think anyone with some kind of online presence can relate to this. Our online presence is, 95% of the time, our best self. The person that we aspire to be and that we would like to inspire others to be like. I absolutely favor those bloggers who let their personal lives, their flaws and struggles, leak from time to time. You’ve built a beautiful platform for this and it’s what keeps me coming back. Keep it up!

  • camorose

    Comparison is the thief of joy, especially in the age of Instagram!

  • camorose

    I love that note about how our online presence is our best self and who we strive to be–I’ve never thought of it that way, but it is SO true.