Thursday, June 18, 2015

Finding Your People

I've been thinking about bloggers and branding lately. When you start diving into the world of  blogging, you run across topics like "expanding your audience" and "developing your personal brand." How do these ideas translate for someone like me who is a sometimes-blogger, but more often an anti-poverty activist?
image owner unknown

The idea of a personal brand certainly isn't new, especially for celebrities who actually do represent brands and charities. But it might be a new concept for those of us not-so-famous community organizers. We swim in smaller ponds, but some of the same rules apply to us as to the big fish. We are also trying to build an audience in that we're trying to get our message out and find people to take actions with us to change the world. 

I believe in diversity within a movement. Diversity of race, economics, gender identity, age, sexuality, abilities, etc, etc. For me, it's not important to be the same in those ways. The similarities I look for are similar values and a passion for our issues and missions. Whether you're getting someone to "follow" a blog or "follow" your lead to write to members of Congress, you want to find like-minded people who want to be around you and do the same things you are doing. 

I see lots of bloggers out there who have much bigger audiences than I do whose voices might be categorized with some of the following words:
            negative     abrasive    snarky     judgemental

               blaming others or organizations   angry                 sales-y    petty    derisive    devisive
I guess there must be a lot of people out there who like to read that kind of stuff. As for me, I get tired of it quickly. I prefer to choose to read these kinds of blogs: 
              positive    inspiring  uplifting  inclusive      encouraging         logical      action-oriented
          sincere    candid        funny     reliable
Those words describe people that I'd like to work with in my advocacy activities. It seems to me that like will attract like, so those are characteristics I try to put in my personal brand. I'm certainly not saying that I don't have a negative or snarky side to me. It's just that I prefer those qualities in drinking buddies and comedians. For this side of me that I put out on-line, I'm going to choose the more positive image. We shouldn't totally change our personalities - note the word "sincere" in the above list - but we CAN be purposeful about choosing the sides of ourselves that we present to the world and make sure we cultivate them.
If you write in a militant way, you'll probably get pretty militant readers following you. I understand that can be good for some activists. Yet for myself, I'm looking for inclusive, positive, and inspiring people to hang out with in real life and online, so I'm going to try to put those things out there to bring those people into my world.
Who are you looking to meet? 
What kinds of words describe how you want the world to see you online?