Saturday, January 05, 2019

Personal branding online -- yes, the Patreon Purge is a bad sign

I wanted to make a note here about personal branding, as 2019 starts.

We’re used to the idea of informal personal branding in the workplace and the world of resumes, and Linked-In profiles.

Online, many “pundits” – whether through books, blogs, video podcasts, or some combination thereof (even their own daily “newspapers”) guard their brand – the ideas that their names stand for – jealousy.  The goes hand in hand with how trademark law works, at least for any one who sells items or ad space or even has patrons so he/she can make a living.

And, as other blogs here have covered recently, a number of “conservative” pundits have had platforms taken down.  Sometimes this may seem to be justified by incendiary or hateful conduct, but in some other cases it seems to have more to do with who they are associated with.  It is far too easy for the far Left to smear anyone as “alt-right” or “white supremacist” with practically no factual basis in what a party has actually written.  And payment processors, in particular, seem to be intimidated by these activist tactics.

One way to test a public pundit’s “brand” is to challenge him with requests or demands to demonstrate public support for some other charity or party with real needs.  That is, make the pundit admit he or she can become needy because of the dangerous world, too.  But this sort of compelled speech can undermine the speaker’s message and even defeat the point of remaining online.  Yet, given recent political climate since Charlottesville, continuing to speak out while refusing to support others in need publicly could be viewed indirectly as hate speech, or at least gratuitous speech adding to risk.
Many of my domains are up for renewal this year, and I could face challenges or questions in this area.  I could also face questions as to whether I am sufficiently “commercial” and can get serious about really selling things (books), as with the “”, which has been stable for years (since 1999).  Times are changing rapidly, and systemic inequality is behind the changes.

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