Personal brand this: Why I'm over you. And you. And me.

Good morning, Tuesday. It's gloomy in the city today and a perfect day to hide but alas...

So this weekend I went upstate and it was lovely- received some very sad news upon my return- my uncle's ex wife, who we were all still very fond of, passed away suddenly.  She left behind a son, my dear cousin, and we are all devastated and shocked.  All day yesterday I went back and forth thinking of all the memories while checking in on my uncle and cousin back home. Needless to say, it was a rough day. And somehow, I had no interest posting it to Facebook- just felt slightly too personal and raw for me. I just wanted to feel the sadness and not engage. 

Which brings me to a post I was planning on writing today anyway- how much I'm completely puzzled by Instagram stories and Snapchat and how we are using video storytelling as a medium of self expression right now. From my vantage point, Instagram stories is a rabid collection of girls making duck faces, then opening their mouths to fake lip sync some song, and then dancing around in the upper body while drinking a cocktail or opening a beauty box. I don't get it. I don't get what's interesting about it. I don't get what's fun about putting mouse ears and a nose on my face while I'm getting my swerve on. I don't understand fake dancing of any kind and find the whole thing uncomfortable to look at, particularly because it's more often than not white girls who can't dance.

One of my fav Instagram stories train wrecks belongs to Bethenny Frankel- she of "Real Housewives of New York" and Skinnygirl fame. This is a person who, from the looks of it, can't spend a single moment alone. Yes, her new puppies are cute. Yes, her body is bangin'. But seriously? Her Instagram stories arc is depraved. Demented, sad, and social. Of sorts. This is a person who can't stop documenting every second of her so called life, and it's vulgar in it's compulsion. It's hard to look at really. So I had to stop. She's not a real housewife, she's a desperate one.

For many years, I've been all about the personal branding ethos and why it's important for all of us to propel our own brands forward. But today on LinkedIn a connection of mine, Tom Goodwin of Zenith Media,  posted the following:

"I find this whole idea of "the personal brand" and "thought leaders" or "influencers" really distasteful. Can't people just be themselves, have original thoughts, discuss what they find interesting etc. We are people, we are not brands, we just have personalities. Stop broadcasting, curating and strategizing and start just being."

Yes. Preach. I'm down with you, sir. I thought for a moment you were a dinosaur, but then I realized you're exactly where I am in this Darwinian pissing match called life. 

Because I've been thinking the very same thing of late, and I know I have some friends who are going to virtually smack me for saying so. I am overtired from analyzing influencer behavior and thinking about selling my own brand. To be honest, I've always known my great strength comes from having a voice that is all my own- before people became brands we were all just people. I wonder if we've gone too far down the rabbit hole to claw our ways out- to think of humans as brands may have seemed like a cool way to differentiate and stand apart in a crowded world, but maybe now there's real cred in turning one's back to daytime drinking selfie videos, shameless plugs, and hyper curated sheep behavior.  Maybe I just wanna be me. Sure I'm someone that is more entrepreneurial and do my own thing in spirit, so sure- a marketing tactic or two is needed to help me get work. But damn if I'm not quite sick of everything brand me- maybe it's time to focus on just being completely original and unshackled by all the bullshit. I think we're reaching peak levels of insanity when it comes to one uppance and everything related to our so called lives on social media.  What does it really mean to be true to one's own self anymore?  I don't care about your cute pool float, your grain bowl, or your frosé. Listen, I post my own bullshit too- guilty as charged. But I'm just here waiting for people to be themselves again and not shove said selfness down my throat, ya dig?

Ok rant over. That's just where I am today as I get down to it. Maybe the death of a loved one gave me a bit of perspective, maybe I'm just tired of Summer before it even starts. Maybe I just hate a grain bowl. Who knows? It's just where I'm at today, yo.  Don't kill me, Irma Zandl. 

Cause that's what's up this demented and sad and unsocial kind of Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in free to be. XO