Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 20, 200710:04 PM

Twitterati Or Stalkerati - Personal Brands Takeover

What is Twitter? Some are calling it micro-Blogging, some are calling it web-based chat. I think I've got it: Permission-Based Stalking.

Yep, that's what Twitter is - someone is giving you permission to stalk their every "what are you doing?" moment. It's everything from the mundane to the surreal to the fascinating and this is why it's taking up a bulk of new Blog content on this Digital Marketing and Brand Democratization Blog.

I think the tremblings of Twitter and the growth of Facebook are pointing us to a new era in Branding. It's here and we're paying scant attention to it. Personal Brands are going to start growing to levels usually relegated to, what marketing industry experts call, "super brands." Who needs Starbucks when you can have Scoble? Who needs Rolls Royce when you can have Rubel? And, who needs FedEx when you can have Forbidden?

The days of big brands controlling the one-to-many conversation of marketing, communications, advertising and public relations by sheer money power and voice is quickly coming to a close.

The writing was on the wall when we started listening to the community feedback of sellers on eBay - that's right, a group of random people we've never met, but we trusted implicitly when they rated the seller of an item. It then escalated when online social networking took hold and people with large groups of "friends" started exercising real power. Now we're seeing it everywhere: from YouTube to a consumer-generated Doritos spot for the Superbowl. Individual personal brands are creating as much (if not more) loyalty and trust than traditional corporate brands. These traditional brands have been at it for years and have spent millions of dollars to secure those attachments, but here come personal brands - fast, furious and factual.

The tables are turning. It will be the focus of my book, Six Pixels of Separation (presently writing it - I promise). Here's the premise (and it was crystallized when I started seeing the uptake to Twitter): because of everything that's happening in the online space right now and the power to create content, people are more inclined to follow, listen and build trust economies with other people whose values, goals and beliefs are in-line with their own. Maybe we've always been like this, but because of the new demographic and geography of the Web, those relationships are multiplying at a frenzied pace, and we're looking to our peers to be the brands... not corporations.

Don't believe the hype? Look at Twitter. We're not following Nicole Ritchie, we're following Neville Hobson. We're not following Leonardo DiCaprio, we're following Leo Laporte. Personal brands - individuals - people like "us" are becoming our super brands... only much more trustworthy and interesting.

We're no longer interested in the National Enquirer - because when enquiring minds want to know, they check and see "what are you doing?" on Twitter - further pushing personal brands to the forefront of our minds.

Say goodbye to "brand recall" as we welcome in personal brand recall.

By Mitch Joel