You are what you watch, hear and engage in, by intention or accident. That should be a caution to you, if you’re reading this only because Project Runway is on a commercial break, or Perez Hilton still has up that photo of Lindsay Lohan in an orange bikini (made you look!).
If you own all the farm animals on Farmville, killed all the people on Mafia Wars and you’re typically the mayor of the burger joint you 4square from, it’s time for you to stop “learning” how to spend your time on things that make no sense being mixed up with your brand – and teaching the people who know you that you spend your time on nonsense. You don’t have an endless amount of attention units and neither do we when it comes to our schema of you. Our brains’ respective RAMs get filled up in 30-second increments. Or, if you’re a goldfish, 7 seconds. In any case, brains get full pretty quick, so be careful what you’re focusing on. Be careful how you use the time you get with other people.
Better to sit addicted to Twitter, if you follow people in your industry or experts on subjects of huge value, including social media itself. Click on the links and get smart. Bring your own perspective and experience to bear on what you learn. Share original thoughts (if you can). Retweet if you can’t. Try to ignore anything that quotes Donald Trump. Sometimes, I can’t restrain myself because I’m on earth to propound the truth that the only things dumber than Donald Trump are people who quote him.
Personal branding is a function of your learning, given that what comes into your head comes out of your mouth or fingertips (or just your thumbs if you’re on a smart phone).
So, subscribe to newsletters that edify, unsubscribe to the ones that are redundant or waste your time. Set up Google Alerts for keywords that are central to your area of expertise and command. Spend your free time in bookstores, libraries, museums, strange neighborhoods, conferences where you meet interesting people, and the gym because you need to build some real muscle after fake farming all last year.
Your personal brand is a reflection of what you are learning. Do it by intention, and you’ll become the person you choose to be. Otherwise remember: accidents happen. We could call that misbranding, or just a dong a Lohan.