Greetings from scenic,

Category: Identity
Tags: People Lot

Personal Branding and Fucking Around

Little known fact: my name's not actually Prettyboy Yumi (as cool as that would be); most Sysops prefer to keep themselves anonymous (or as anonymous as they want to be). I enjoy teasing my face a lot but the idea that any trivial algorithm which can recognize faces can associate pictures of the same person across two different corners of the Internet absolutely frightens me; that's why I've got my hand thrown across my face in some fashion in every picture here. I would rather avoid Facebook rabidly suggesting that you tag me as "Prettyboy".

Me on the Rheim

Still I like being here, in this state of semi-anonymous-with-a-persona, because I can't bring myself to write as freely or as personally as I like under my given name. It's an issue of personal branding, the notion that everything you do and everything you put out there, on the Internet or otherwise, reflects on you and your personal brand. I thought this was a load of bullshit for the longest time; I figured that I was more than capable of operating without a brand, and that all I would need is my good looks and charm to get by in my career.

But as I've come to understand, having a personal brand is something you can leverage, easily, to communicate an easy-to-understand identity to an audience. We're all incredibly complex people; to expect us to be "simple" or "understandable" in our raw-form is almost un-askable. And yet a lot of people have some expectation that you can fit right into their little box they've got for you in their head: a little you-sized box with just enough wiggle-room for a few quirks. But there's no room to put actually all of you inside that box, and if you try they'll cast the runoff out or just find you unpalatable, distant, and maybe a little weird.

But personal brands are a way to approach this problem: by boiling yourself down to an essential image you can cast yourself like an actor in a play, understandable and relatable, if only for the sake of your audience. Actors are incredibly complex people, of course, but the characters they play are far less so.

It might feel ingenious to "invent" a persona just for your audience but consider that this image is still the essence of you: your brand is filtered by you and is ultimately an object of your expression, so it still represents something of your true character.

Many public figures already need to do this kind of branding; there are hundreds of job-titles related to maintaining, modifying, and advising the brands of high-profile people so it should be no surprise to find that your personal brand, too, takes some effort to create. I'm not going to advise you on how to do so, other than to always remember to somehow be genuine to who you are.

moot (and people I respect a lot)

One person I highly respect is former-4chan administrator and the Internet's favorite closeted homosexual moot who owned and operated everyone's favorite "Anime Death Tentacle Rape Warehouse" forum for over a decade. Even more than the honest and genuine vibe he gives off in the old IRC logs, forum posts, and interviews, I especially respect how he has managed his public-image, evolving from having absolutely no self-awareness to coming off as a half-way competent administrator (although he admitedly is better at the business-side than anything else), he now works at Google doing something... nobody's really sure what.

Shii, whose personal wiki shut down more than 9 years ago, is another figure of ancient Internet history I respect a lot, and I have no doubt that he's doing excellent work, wherever he is.

Another persona is W.T. Snacks, former moderator and programmer on 4chan and now self-described DJ w/ da fresh flavor who seems to be having the time of his life DJ-ing around the US and abroad.

I like to fuck around a lot; that's no secret. And I'm super glad I get to spend time here, engaging with this little community that's formed around the sites I run. And I like writing candidly about things that are happening to me every day.

But I'm also glad the botnet hasn't learned to recognize my face behind my hand.

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