Posts Tagged ‘self obsession’

Branding self-identity.

June 11, 2009

Everything looks different if it’s pictured in print, on TV, or within the frame of a computer screen.

When I was kid, my parents’ garden was selected to be featured in Sunset magazine.  I had grown up in that garden — climbing the plum tree to reach the ripest fruit at the top, lying on my back in the moss to find shapes in the passing clouds, sprinting down the back steps to fetch my parents bell peppers or spinach or basil for dinner.  I was familiar with the beauty of the garden but also with the dirt and mud, the snails and pill bugs lurking everywhere, and the reeking compost heap in the back shed.

And so when a shiny copy of Sunset arrived in the mail and my parents showed me the images of our garden, I barely recognized it — the lotuses wide open, the California poppies without even a hint of wilt.  Every color looked more vibrant than it did in real life.  The pictures were either very close-up or taken at angles that allowed our tiny city garden to seem to extend long into the distance.  It was our garden, but bigger, brighter, and someone’s version of better.

company-identity-brandingWhen it comes to human beings, I would argue that media has an even more marked effect.  Flattering lighting, photography, and airbrushing has been brought to the level of an art.  These phantasmic images can be used to create allure and social power.

As my month-long advertising purge came to a close, I began thinking about how individuals market themselves.  Through facebook, myspace, and other social networking sites, we become our own products.  Nothing is a simple representation of fact; we decide what images and information will represent us to the world.  Check out this article on building a personal brand, and this posting on facebook-fueled self obsession.  The process is even more evident when it comes to blogs and personal websites.

Authenticity: come out, come out, wherever you are.  The modern world misses you.