A Single Picture That Describes How Personal Branding Went Mainstream

Me 2.0Personal BrandingSocial Media

No, this isn’t an Apple commercial.  I just wanted to use something you were familiar with; two of the most notable and respected corporate brands on the planet. As the web has evolved from web 1.0 to web 2.0, our personal brands have moved at the same capacity, from me 1.0 to me 2.0.

I want you to analyze the following picture for 2-4 minutes and then read my commentary below.

Web 1.0 / Me 1.0

Web 1.0 was an web filled with static pages. Each website built back then (over 5 years ago) had little to no interactivity. There were discussion forums, where people could talk about special interest topics or role play, depending on the forums purpose. Web 1.0 was a web where you had no say and these sites shouted at you. You were helpless! I mean you probably didn’t notice or care at the time, but you used the web differently. The web to us was a shopping experience or a research database. You wanted to find the cheapest plane tickets or research the latest market trends for your school paper. Of course you still do that today, but there’s more.

Me 1.0 was when your brand had to sit in the passenger seat (see the Apple example above). This was a time when the corporate brand would not let you speak. Forget about visibility and voice; you were just another number. Me 1.0 was when, if you weren’t a corporate spokesman (executive/PR person), then you couldn’t say a word! Me 1.0 was when you had to hide behind your corporation and for some of you, you might still do this for better or worse.

Web 2.0 / Me 2.0

Web 2.0 is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Think of web 2.0 as a “2-way” conversation. The openness of web 2.0 allows anyone to get engaged in a conversation online. The trend I’ve been seeing is people crafting more blogs and less static (web 1.0) pages. The reason you might ask? Simply put, you can publish on-demand, get feedback quickly and you don’t need to be a technical person to get started today. Web 2.0 is a world filled with blogs, social networks and bookmarking, which enable you to be on the same level as your peers and even your company. Google has allowed this to happen. Google values links from credible sources, which has skyrocketed the importance of blogs, leaving them at the top of the search results. Web 2.0 is the great equalizer in a world filled with nasty politics.

Me 2.0 is when you are able to stand in front of your corporate brand (see the Microsoft example above). Anyone in your company can be a spokesperson, from the secretary to the CEO. This is fundamentally different from years ago because social media has given everyone the privilege and support to become a powerful brand, at a minimal cost. Me 2.0 is empowered to make a big difference in the world. Me 2.0 has enough free tools on the web now to accomplish years of work in a few months. The web has put some of the most intelligent and reputable figures at your fingertips; corporate brand sold separately. You can now command just as much attention as a company or you can choose to use your brand in support of your company!

What have you done for me 2.0 lately?