WHERE ARE ALL THE SHOCKED EMOJIS WHEN YOU NEED THEM??
The big thing these days is to "be authentic;" be yourself, don't apologize for who you are, be "real," be honest & vulnerable & #darlingmagazine & I don't even know what. It sounds good, right? Yes! Open up! People love that! Down with the impersonal corporate machine! This is the day of the lone entrepreneur!
It's all well + good to get on Pinterest & see the motivational quotes about being honest + real, but there's a huge mistake they make & nOBODY SEEMS TO ADDRESS IT. I'm going to because I like being negative + poking holes in people's balloons. Well, mostly Pinterest's balloons.
THE AUTHENTIC MISCONCEPTION
What is "authenticity"? You can have two definitions:
being original // not a copy+being true to one's beliefs
Pretty cool. No one wants a copycat or a sycophant (copycats are tricky to feed + sycophants are such delicate plants, they are an enormous burden to keep up with). Being YOU is a good thing! ...Right??
Yes & no. If you are representing an idea (author, doughnut-maker, part-time executioner), you DON'T HAVE THE FREEDOM TO BE FREE. In terms of your interaction with the public, you have committed to a persona that you need to uphold & which needs to be reliable so that customers (readers, pastry enthusiasts, not so much convicted criminals but they're people too), can keep the concept of YOU + YOUR BRAND dependably in their minds.
oh hey jenny aren't you one to talk
You are definitely looking at someone who is trying to move from "just being myself" to being a definite brand. There is a lot more to ME than what I portray on my blog because my blog isn't strictly about ME, it's about THE PENSLAYER - it's about writing, it's about my works, it's about my thoughts on becoming better at my craft & how you, too, can improve!
does this mean i'm not authentic?
Nope! This does NOT mean I'm not authentic. This does not mean I'm faking it when I get on my blog & post only a snapshot of who I am. It means I'm
// edited //
If I take an Instagram picture of part of my house, it's really part of my house - but it's only a square lookie-hole into my environment. It's real. It's authentic. But it's also edited & it's what I want you to see. It gives you the impression I want you to have. Is this evil? Is this manipulative?? Well, okay, it's manipulative but no it's not evil. If I want to be a definite brand with a definite purpose, & reliably deliver the same genre of goods to the public, I can't afford to be a catch-all dumping-ground for my entire brain/personality. I have to choose what parts of me will best express + represent my "business front."
DOES BEING AUTHENTIC KILL YOUR BRAND?
YES || if you fall into the trap of assuming "authentic" means everything you think, everything you like, every tiny change you make, every fad, love, obsession that takes hold of you from week to week. This is confusion, & confusion destroys a brand.
NO || not if you are authentic TO YOUR BRAND. Not if you are authentic to who you have determined you need to be in order to intelligibly express the concept of your brand.
clarityconsistencysingleness of vision
are what your brand needs to stand out & shine in a loud, loud world of social media + marketing.
well okay kettle but you're the same colour as the pot
(Yeah, & it's my favourite colour...) But no, in all seriousness, this is NOT something I have mastered, but it is something that I've become more aware of in the past eleven months as I overhaul myself + my home. I've learned how important it is to edit, to focus, to hone. The CLEAR VIEW of who you are becomes a CONSISTENT EXPRESSION, which creates a RELIABLE CONCEPT of YOU. For the outside world looking in, whatever demographic your customers fall in to, this is invaluable. No one wants to depend on chaos + confusion.
DON'T JUST BE AUTHENTIC. BE EDITED.