someone from MSN reminded me of something today that I’d thought about ages ago… they said that users of their Live Spaces sites were "using social networking as the media space to sell their own brands". they were impling that people were conscious of themselves as brands and marketing themselves as such.
in some respects we’ve always been brands; marketing ourselves to friends and acquaintances by how we look and behave. but the advent of social networking has taken this to a new level. with the removal of physical limitations, we can now market ourselves to the online world without meeting a single person.
we authors broadcast first impressions of ourselves to the great many more browsing observers. in doing so, we’re creating shortcuts for and extensions of our own personalities to communicate what makes us who we are. we’re selling ourselves and our lives. we’re marketing.
does this make us more brand literate? I’d suggest it does. in doing so, we implictly learn to identify and actualise the shortcuts and cues of what makes us who we are, and learn to spot and understand them more readily in commercial brands.
does it make us more shallow? absolutely not; its a though millions of autobiographies are being conceived and written before our browsing eyes.