Like it or Not, You (Yes, YOU) are a Brand

“Branding” used to mean burning your emblem into something, like a wooden sign or a cow’s butt. Although it still means the aforementioned, it has also come to mean influencing the public’s perception–either of you, your company, or the product you’re offering.

Now, here comes the difficult part: if you have a Facebook profile, you are already a brand. You, personally. You are being judged on what you post, and with whom you associate, because these are factors that make up your brand identity. That photo of you doing a keg stand? Part of your brand. Your half-informed political rants? Brand. Those smarty-pants, anti- (or pro-) religious tirades? Brand, brand, brand.

Some people take this very seriously, and they employ high standards for their brand’s quality control. For example, I’m sure WAY more of my friends like Billy Joel than admit to it in their musical “likes.” They’d rather admit to liking The Velvet Underground, because it better supports the hip narrative of their brand. These same people may enjoy that photo of you with your aunt, but they’re reluctant to like it because they want their brand to only be associated with edgy photos, or ones taken in other countries, or ones involving cats from Brooklyn.

Others look at Facebook like a middle-school diary, where (with inconsistent capitalization and punctuation) they vent about “drama,” home wreckers, and why The Voice was better last season. Believe me, I get it: we joined Facebook to keep in touch with old friends, and to have an online “trading card” that represents us. But, over the years, the same pattern happened to Facebook that happens to all successful websites: corporations (including some of your future employers) saw an opportunity, jumped in, and peed in the pool. Nowadays, Facebook is more of a corporate marketing resource (we already come right out and tell them what we “like”) than social network. We can all move to a different pool, but if it gets popular enough they’ll pee in that one as well.

The answer, then, isn’t to keep switching pools; it’s to decide beforehand what our brands will be, and to act consistently with those brands. If you’re OK with being known as “that guy who constantly makes jokes about colostomy bags,” then don’t look back: joke away! If those overused, poorly-written “e-card” rectangles really do sum up your thoughts and opinions perfectly, then great! Regardless, however, you should know in advance how you want to be perceived by potential employers. Anything outside of that desired image should be saved for personal interaction rather than puked all over the internet. Until Google glasses get more popular, personal interaction is still relatively safe. I know, the thought of actually talking to your “friends” is daunting, but that’s reality. Chances are, that’s how your parents met, unless they’re sixteen years old.

Of course, Facebook does have certain parameters you can set regarding who sees what of yours, limiting your overly-personal or risky posts to your inner circle. Please remember, though, that:

A) Many people got their jobs from people they already know, people who can see all of their profile posts.

B) Your “friends” could be making screen captures of you in your moments of poor judgment. Maybe they’re sharing them elsewhere, or maybe they’re keeping them “just in case.” Either way, keep your guard up.

C) Your word-of-mouth reputation is heavily influenced by what your inner circle sees. If your inner circle is still seeing your thong, they may be talking about it, even to people you’ve blocked.

Like it or not, you are a brand. Define that brand for yourself, and then stick to its parameters. Happy kegging!

What is Trending NOW in the World of Home Decor!

Top 10 Must-Haves for 2014:

1. Emerald Green: See our blog post on how to incorporate emerald green, while remaining budget-conscious, into your home.

2. Gold: Adding gold to your tableware is a smart way to use this daunting metallic. It is both unexpected and fashion-forward.

3. Antique Brass: It’s back! Give your grandma’s old brass lamp a revamp with a new contemporary shade. The mixture of styles and finishes is so “now.”

4. Hot Hues: Add a new spin to hot colors. For example, add hot pink to crimson red; it is a knockout color combo. Use in moderation, though: one accent wall or piece of furniture is all you need.

5. Whitewashed/Light Grey Flooring: Your toes will think you are at the beach with new, driftwood-esque floors underfoot.

6. Animal Prints: Add a touch of sexy with animal prints. Cover an ottoman, or just add throw pillows to your living area. Rawr!

7. Graphic Patterns: Patterns are used in all types of facets, from accessories to wall coverings. Chevrons are here now, but graphic dots are next. The possibilities go far beyond just one type of pattern.

8. Nostalgia + Paint: Painting vintage pieces in bright hues is a perfect way to add “pow” to your space.

9. Ethnic prints: African tribal and Oriental prints are everywhere, from bed coverings to table coverings.

10. Botanicals: Country rose, as seen at the Maison and Objet show in February, is having a huge comeback, with new contexts and combinations.

How to Type a Copyright (©) Symbol on a Mac or PC

copyrightThere are many atypical characters that your keyboard keeps under wraps; these icons are rarely asked to dance, and instead live in the shadows, often forced to inbreed out of boredom. For simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on one of the most useful “special” characters that, chances are, you’ve wanted to type in the past: the copyright symbol.

If you are a Mac user, typing a copyright symbol is as easy as holding down the Option key while depressing the gee key. Yes, even letters have spellings, and the letter g is spelled gee; however, that’s another blog entirely.

On most PCs, the copyright symbol can be typed by simultaneously holding down both the Control and the Alt keys, and then depressing the cee key.

If the above doesn’t work on your PC, it’s time to upgrade.

In the meantime, however, hold down Alt and then type “0169” using the numeric section of your keyboard. Those snobby, fickle numbers up top won’t help you here, so it’s important that you utilize the numeric section on your keyboard’s right.

Although the above methods are tried and true, if you still encounter problems please feel free to copy and paste from me, your benefactor: ©.