You don’t want to fly that freak flag too high, Carol.
So, okay. I’m not posting it. Clearly. Which is kind of sad, actually. Because it really was a funny post, if I do say so myself. But I’m glad I had a few days to let it rest. Along with some much-needed reconsidering (for the sake of not seeming like a complete freak/idiot), I also got to thinking about Daisy Whitney’s brilliant guest post about branding on Lisa and Laura’s blog, Lisa and Laura Write. I mean, this whole blog thing is fairly new to me, and I’ve always been of the mind set that I’m just me—love me or hate me. But I realized: my name means something to others now. When an agent/editor/stalker googles Carolina Valdez Miller, they will get a nice little hit list of my online activity. And this will, in turn, impact how they view me and my work (gasp!)
But here’s the problem—all that stuff you see of mine online is not wholly ME. It is me personified. Still, the stuff you put out there online—posts, comments, tweets, photos, cartoons, videos—they all create a branded image of you, whether it’s the real you or not. Because of this, the Online You must be carefully considered and yes…crafted—something that I haven’t given much thought to until now.
So, I tucked away my funny, slightly creepy blog post, and then I sat down to write out some qualities that describe my online persona. And OMG, I realized I don’t really know who I am (online). I mean, yeah, I usually shoot for funny. Yeah, I can be fairly passionate, sometimes sentimental. But…Kooky? Freaky? Off the wall cheesy? I use words like awesome and shiznit and OMG and WTF—so perhaps youthful (yeah, I vote for this one!) But is there intelligence? Heart? Skill? Are any of those qualities present in my blog? Do people assume that because my characters have a tendency to flip me off, that I’m either 1. nuts 2. a moron 3. clever?
But here’s what I’ve come to realize—I LOVE to take people by surprise. Few things thrill me quite as much as catching people off guard by defying their expectations. And if nothing else, this should be evident in my blog. Is that what I want branding me? Sure—in part. I like to do that in my writing, too. But I want all the other stuff, too. I want my bloggy friends to know not just the Online Me, but a little more of the Carol Me. So, I’m going to give you a few facts about myself that may or may not defy your expectations (And also, I’m working on my blog awards post for tomorrow where I’m supposed to do this anyway, so killing two birds with one stone):
1. I am probably one of the most sensitive people I know. It doesn’t take much to move me. Seriously. A Hallmark commercial will have me blubbering like a three year old who’s just left their teddy bear on the metro.
2. I am one of the most insecure people I know. If I hear you whispering, I will assume it is about me. If you don’t write me back, I will assume that I have just done something to offend you. If you don’t leave a comment, I will assume you hate me (I am only exaggerating a little).
3. I am a hermit. I like to be around people, to kick up my heels on occasion, but I thrive on being alone. It takes all of my strength and every last shred of self-confidence to walk into a room full of people I don’t know. I don’t think I was meant to be this way; I think it’s just the way I’ve evolved (this might also be tied to number 2). Writers conferences are going to kick my arse. I will likely end up blubbering like an infant, holed up in my hotel room, thinking the world hates me.
4. Despite numbers 1-3, I do actually have friends. But I’m not always the best at being one. I rarely call and I forget to e-mail and send cards. I’m not at all good at phoning people actually--I get tongue-tied and stammer and laugh like a lunatic. Texting is now my crutch. So if I text you instead of phone you, don’t take offense. It’s me, not you.
You are now wondering how it’s possible to be friends with me, so allow me to explain:
5. I love humans. I can usually find something good in most anyone, even Wal-Mart people. I’m a sucker for the downtrodden, the abused, the neglected, and the pathetic. This doesn’t mean my friends are like this, but if they are, I’m okay with it. When they need me, I am generally there (except for that time I forgot to pick up my friend’s child from school. Doh!).
6. I’m loyal. Rather like a dog, I will defend you. Unless I don’t like you. But maybe even then.
7. If you hurt my children, I will. hurt. you. And remember, I’m the creative type.
8. I am a mother hen (see number 7), but not just to my children. I often adopt a protective attitude with my friends. I am quick to jump on the “Let’s get ‘em” bandwagon if you tell me someone has hurt you.
9. I go to church pretty much every Sunday. Our pastor knows my name. Indeed, I am a very spiritual person, though I tend to keep it to myself because it’s a private thing. But I’m inherently wicked. So it’s a struggle sometimes (I’m only exaggerating a little).
10. When I sit down I double cross my legs (cross once, then wrap my foot back around my calf). I don’t know why. It’s just a weird thing I do.
And finally, because having an 11 defies expectations:
11. I say the wrong things, leap before thinking, and stuff my foot into my mouth on a regular basis. If you can’t overlook this, we are probably not meant to be friends.
Now, I ask you: What defines you? What online persona have you tried to create? Or have you given it much thought yet?
Check out Russell Brand. Now here’s a guy with a very distinct persona. And it just so happens, in this video he touches upon the concept of, well, brands. And it’s hilarious. Love this guy.
Just a quick reminder before I close up shop: Don’t forget about the Cosmic Coincidence Contest I am hosting with Simon. All you have to do is write a flash fiction story up to 1,000 words, and in exchange you can win books and critiques and have your story be featured on both of our blogs. So, please do enter (see numbers 1-2). Be sure to check out the rules here and the prizes here. The end date of January 31 will be here before you know it.