Will the real Lauren Vargas please stand up?

Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” -Socrates

With the release of Me 2.0, the conversation surrounding the term “personal brand” is plenty. Too much. Unfortunately, the term has stuck and is here to stay. So rather than avoid the vocabulary, let’s get to the root of why there is a clear divide between the lovers and haters of personal branding.

Tiffany Monhollon, states in her comment to Valeria Maltoni’s post (Will Brands be “in” in Web 3.0?), “I guess one thing that’s always rung a little odd in my ears just about the term “personal brand” is that a brand, in marketing, has one very clear purpose: sales.” Bingo. Dare I say disingenuous?

There will be no slamming of the book by Dan Schwabel, but I am a member of the Gen Y tribe too, also a part of the larger conversation of how this discussion affects those in the communications industry, and I am disturbed by the direction of personal branding.

I shiver when I say ‘Me 2.0.’ For so long (in the big corporate world as a twenty-something), I have been told to banish ‘I’ and use the term ‘We.’ I do not think this is old-school thought and have found this advice to be helpful when forming relationships/partnerships. So why now the ‘I’? Leveraging my friends and relationships sounds dirty. Yes, it is about give and take, but in this world of me, me, me, I feel like more is being taken or leveraged without my consent or with those I have built relationships. For so long I have functioned with the “me” as priority in a relationship and the results are not pretty. 

As does curating my personal brand on every platform. Is that truly authentic? To have a strategy for each platform? Will the real ME please stand up?

Honestly, I do hope that those who are curating their brands on each platform truly do endeavor to be what they desire to appear. When it comes down to bare bones, reputation is all we have. Yes, to some extent it is about the sales/money, but cast off those layers and for me it is integrity at the foundation.

For those that are younger and/or those who have a lot of time left to make an impact in the industry, beware of who you mold yourself to be today. You may not leave enough wiggle room for an evolution. Revolutions are bloody.

The “Me 2.0″ of Lauren Vargas is not through calculated posts, tweets or posting pictures with the who’s who of social media…it is through my work. My execution. No shame in tooting my own horn once in a while, but for those doing it all the time, doesn’t it appear to be analogous to the story of the boy who cried wolf?

I see the benefits and understand both sides of the argument, but I think we need to look past the digital mirror of our own reflection and see how our digital crumbs have truly helped or hindered those we claim to have as “friends.”

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