A Journalist’s Brand, a reflection of who they are, not who they want to be.

In one of my classes we’ve spent the past couple of weeks examining a “brand” as a journalist and how important it is to our success in the field. I’ve been struggling with the idea of my personal brand and how it defines me as a writer. One of the conversations my professor and I had about the subject dealt the tone we use across the various social media platforms, which today are seemingly integrated into our lives. I argued that it is a much more irrelevant conversation for my generation because our social media “voice” is something that we’ve carried for pretty much our entire lives up to this point, while people like my mom and her generation have had to actually learn how to communicate.

That’s not to say that either group is a bunch of babbling idiots on Facebook or Twitter (although some are), I’m just saying that our voice isn’t something that I, or anyone my age, has had to develop. It’s native to who we are as writers and as speakers. To me, it’s just something I do. When I post a tweet I don’t tailor it to certain characteristics, I just speak what’s on my mind. Obviously I check to make sure I’m spelling things correctly, unless that damned 140 character limit gets in the way, but other than that my Twitter voice is no different than my conversational voice. Now depending on if you’re talking to my friend or an ex girlfriend, although they’d probably agree on some of this, they’d say I’m outspoken, sometimes loud, informational and sometimes a know-it-all, opinionated, which sometimes becomes stubborn. Add a double shot of overly sarcastic in the cocktail and you have a Long Island Iced Tea version of my social voice.
Here is where the problem is with what my professor was saying. She argued there needs to be a consistent and appropriate voice in my tweets, blogs and conversation. While I certainly agree with everything she said, and I don’t plan on dropping F-Bombs on the twittosphere, I also believe the biggest thing for a successful writing career in the digital age is a genuine reflection of who you are as a person. Within a fine square of common sense, be yourself. Concocting double personalities from social media to in-person will only cause more damage than good. Your audience and sources will be able to tell when you’re acting, and in my opinion it will also harm your writing. So in all honesty, I’d RATHER be known as bold and sometimes over-the-top in my writing versus restrained. It’s not the way I approach conversation, nor will it be the way I approach my next piece.

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About joemartin2014

J-student at Arizona State University, and pursing a minor in business as well.

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