She grabbed the microphone back and started clarifying that she really, really, really is a brand and brands are awesome . . . and the more she went on, the more I thought: I am not a brand. I wanted to whisper it, but that would have been creepy.
That quote is from Maureen Johnson's most excellent blog post on how she feels about social media.
She says something I've tried to say several times here, only she says it far better. If I could get away with it, I'd just post what she says here and point at it. So, that's essentially what I'm doing. I'm assuming you all clicked and went to read it already.
Though I confess my favorite part is when she wants to whisper to herself that she's not a brand, but decides it would be creepy.
The interwebs have their decidedly creepy aspect. People behave in odd ways, act aggressive or just plain nutty sometimes. Enough so that I've researched a few to try to determine if they're really as nutty as they seem or if it's a communication issue. That said, I've met far more really great people, some of whom I've gone on to meet in person. Which is really the point of the whole social media thing.
I confess I started using both Facebook and Twitter to pimp my blog. I know, I know - but if I was going to write the damn thing, I wanted someone besides my mother to read it and that seemed to be the way to go. It worked, too. But, to my surprise, I found I really enjoy the communities I'm now part of. There are people I talk to every day and who miss me when I'm gone - which is always comforting in a someone-will-find-me-before-the-pets-totally-consume-my-body kind of way.
But Maureen is dead-on about the shysters, the shills, the snake-oil salesmen. One author I unfollowed after less than a day because he tweeted, in all caps, to buy his book, every hour, all day long.
No no no.
It's no fun to be friends with a brand. That's what it comes down to, really. I might like Burt's Bees, and expect a certain quality in the products that pleases me with its consistency and nice scents, but I don't expect to interact with my Beeswax Lip Balm. Beyond keeping my lips kissable, of course.
Authors are different. When we love their books, we want to talk to the people who wrote them. We have this odd tendency to feel like they're friends because we spent time wrapped in their view of the world. And man authors - certainly not all - like to interact with their readers because, well, otherwise we never really get to be part of that experience.
Storytelling is intimate. Personal. It's not like selling lip balm.
I am not a brand, she whispered quietly to herself.