Please get that Branding iron off my ass




If you are involved to any degree in the tech blogosphere and especially Social Media that is a word you hear a lot. It’s all about securing your brand, promoting your brand, protecting your brand and we all seem to be sucking it up as it is the greatest idea to come along.

Except it’s not.

I’ve written about this whole branding thing before in the past even to the point of how I fell for the same buzzword bullshit. Then in the past week Doc Searls, one of the people in this industry I respect the most, had a go at this whole idea and really how it is all a load of crap. As he said in Brands are boring:

Brands are boring because they’re not human. They’re companies. And, despite recent Supreme Court decisions to the contrary, companies are not human. They are abstractions that make business possible. Businesses are necessary to thriving economies and working civilizations. They are comprised of human beings and therefore have human qualities. But they are not themselves human.

Then in a later post where he calls brands nothing but bull Doc points to a post written by Yvonne on BlogHer where she said

I also used to be able to write about important things, like depression or body image and feel safe. Feel like it mattered. Like by writing my story I was helping people and that people were helping me by reading, by sharing their stories. I know that is still true, but sometimes? I feel like the stories aren’t being heard because we’re all too busy about traffic and page views and twitter followers and OUR BRRRANNND.

The problem is, as Doc has point out, that brands are a trademark legal entity for corporations that allow the people making up that corporation to legally absolve themselves of any responsibility of actions taken by the corporation.

This is the total opposite of what blogging and the Social Web is about. For us it is suppose to be all about taking responsibility for our actions, our words – not run from them. Sure TechCrunch or Mashable or any number of the big blog networks can to a certain extent hide behind the corporate branding of their products especially as them move more to being media companies rather than straight up blogging endeavors. Even here at Shotting at Bubbles or even my WinExtra blog I could hide behind that same branding business methodology but when it comes to me – the human being it is a different story.

As much as I might push the names as being the identity the respective blogs the fact is that if you ask anyone chances are they will say oh ya you mean Steven Hodson that cranky old fart. That is me, the human being, not some trademarked corporate entity hiding behind a soulless brand.

People are not brands. People are human beings. Blogs that make a difference, even if only to the writer and maybe a small circle of friends, are written by people – not brands. It is our emotions, our thoughts, our dreams, our ideas that make us and what we write worth something.

If we gain any fame or acknowledgement it isn’t because of some sort of brand but rather because of who we are as human beings.

I know I wake up every morning and sit here doing what I do not because I am interested in promoting some sort of brand but rather because I want to share my thoughts and my ideas.

That can’t be branded.


  1. 14/04/10 at 16:19

    Is it the word Branding that you don’t like, or the concept?

    If it’s the concept, why do you have separate blogs for all your various topics you blog about? Why not just blog under

    It’s so that the stuff you’re blogging about can have an associated identity that will help the ideas spread more easily, I’d assume.

    If it’s the word you hate, rather than the concept, do you know of a better one?

    Until then, I will probably keep using it (as will others).
    .-= Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins´s last blog ..Dear Google. I Have a Question. [#locationFail] =-.

    • 15/04/10 at 0:02

      I don’t like the word or the concept. It’s dehumanizing. As for why I have three different blogs instead of dumping everything into one it is because they all cover three totally different areas of interest and in the majority of cases the subjects don’t cross over.

      WinExtra is primarily just for my thoughts and information that related strictly to Windows and Microsoft. It is also the home of the WinExtra Community Forums and the majority of members who hang out there and read the blog aren’t interested in the whole ‘social media’ crap . In the same vein people who read this blog are a mixed bunch who for the most part don’t really care that much for Windows or Microsoft – heck this is the Apple loving (you excluded Mark :) ) crowd after all.

      And as for Braincell Soup – well that is just my art related blog of cool images I find on the web and has nothing to do with either of the two other blog subjects.

      It has nothing to do with branding but rather keeping my various interests refined into blogs that will interest people who care about those individual areas.

  2. 16/04/10 at 9:00

    Hey, real people and cranky old farts, let’s reclaim blogging as our own again! Remember when the Internet was all about serious research, gaming, sharing tech tips and our idle thoughts about anything under the sun…and FUN?

    You’re absolutely right, Steven. Brands are boring. But it’s good to remember that BEHIND every brand are a whole bunch of hard-working, thinking, feeling, real people. Brand recognition and reputation help them keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables.

    Me, I don’t compartmentalize well enough to maintain several blogs at once. That’s what “categories” are for, and I have more of those than the WordPress “experts” generally advise. My small circle of regular readers and occasional visitors don’t seem to mind at all, though – they’re the BEST, aren’t they? :)
    .-= Holly Jahangiri´s last blog ..WTFM, So You Can RTFM =-.