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Why people blog (instead of companies), and something about identity too

Jeff brushed this topic somewhere last week, and I started thinking. First of all, one of my favourite examples of blogging people.

We all (should) know the awesome/amazing/feckin’ cool company silverorange, the Canadian bastards who created the lubberly mozilla.org (yeah yeah Anne) redesign last year. They have a (markup-wise dirty) company site with products, portfolio and the likes. However, instead of running a corporate weblog (yes, even a ‘corporate’ where each employee posts for himself in the company context *cough*), virtually every single employee has his own weblog to rant about life, work and everything. And if it wasn’t for one of my personal heroes, Steven Garrity, I wouldn’t have liked silverorange either. Steven is a nice guy. One can tell. He subtly advertises and keeps the visitors connected. It works.

Now, it must be noted that, over at so, they’re all pretty much buddies, but even without knowing that simple fact, they all seem pretty cool and so does so thanks to that. When dealing with such a company, personalities count.

Conclusion: so rocks

I hardly try to hide my love towards them Canadians, but one can also hardly disagree. However, it’s a prime example of how good personalities work for a company. Now, that’s done. On to bigger things…

Identities for personal sites

I had to talk about this—Nazarin started it (get well man!)—as I’m currently working on a redesign (sorry, people who saw my previous attempt – it will get even better). I am working on a real identity this time, and when Naz says that personal sites don’t really need an identity, I feel obliged to retort. Of course, a personal touch is okay, but some sites don’t need branding. However, when you get some several hundred to thousand visitors a day, you want people to remember you. The more the merrier, no? Maybe a logo is a bit too much of a brand for a weblog (plus more soon, mind that)?

What is it with identities? Branding? Corporate blogging? Tell me. I’d like to know what you think of real branding for a personal site, as that is what you can expect.

13 comments

  1. It does seem that many weblogs do not have true logos. I think it is perfectly acceptable however, as some famous individuals could certainly do the same, I suppose. I think personal branding is good, as long as done carefully with a minimal approach.

    It’s no wonder you’re more popular than I, with articles like these :P

  2. It’s always important to establish a personal brand in the online world. People instinctually do it in subtle ways. A tagline, an avatar, etc.

    When blogging, both in running your own blog or posting on others, it’s a great way to create a “comfort zone” that others can use to readily identify who you are.

    For my site, I’ve established a logo that I will unlikely change. And any time I fill out a comment on another blog, I always use the same name and url. And with the use of gravatars, it makes it even easier to extend my personal brand.

  3. A nit: it is mozilla.org, lowercase.

  4. I’m not too hot on the whole “branding” thing myself, but I can see that it has a place in personal sites, none moreso than in this blogging community of which we are a part. I don’t think it has to be a logo, per se, but some kind of identity that can connect the user with the author can, I think really be helpful.

    Think about the use of Gravatars in comments. If you’re scrolling through the comments on any of the sites that I know both you and I frequent, you perk up when you see a comment from Hicks or Oxton. You recognise their site identity immediately through their gravatar and remember that you enjoy the content of their site, so what they have to say might well be worth reading. Obviously, this doesn’t always count with Oxton, who 9 times out of 10 will leave a shit comment. !)

  5. Somebody was supposed to improve my logo (which he designed) and also make a favicon of it. I’ll be seeing im in a few weeks, so he better hurry up :-P

  6. Obviously, this doesn’t always count with Oxton, who 9 times out of 10 will leave a shit comment. !)

    Batstard!

  7. Very nicely done my friend. Branding is a very strange subject whenever it is juxtaposed with the word “personal”.

    When does one need branding on a personal site, or rather can one have branding and the site remain personal?

    Very interesting indeed.

  8. Completely off topic:

    CANADA FLIPPIN’ RULES!

    /homeland-plug

  9. As an old teacher once pointed out, reputations are easy to get and very hard to shake.

    Even though its good to be recognised its sometimes good to be forgotten.

    I guess what I am trying to say is people will build up a memory of a site or comments over time, something very catchy may potentially force a person into making a opinion without much to base it on... which could be one of your worce posts or drunken comments (not mentioning names :p )

  10. I’m not entirely convinced by Nazarin’s argument that personal sites don’t need an identity.

    On the contrary, they absolutely do, otherwise, why do it? It’s almost like saying you don’t need a face.

    In real life, first impressions count, and people make decisions about us based on those first impresions. It’s the same online, and equally important.

    At least for me. The blogs that I read most often are the ones that are written by very strong personalities. I’ve met several of the people behind those blogs, and not one of them has wound up being different than I imagined they’d be when I met them.

    Is that as a result of branding? In a manner of speaking, I guess it is.

  11. Actually, I never mentioned that you didn’t need branding - but rather the entry was about navigational systems and in the example, how you might have too many “Home” buttons/links. I’m all for branding - all of my sites have an identity of some sort and I encourage that - which my point was - your name/logotype/brand would just be a link to “Home” rather than pointing it out.

    In the context of your post here (which brings up a whole other discussion), I’m surprised my entry was referenced since I think we’re talking about different things.

    You’re talking about branding whereas I was talking about minimal navigations.

    But on-topic, as I’ve said, I love that websites do have branding, especially personal sites - there’s not enough of it. In essence, I agree with what you said.

  12. Naz, I wasn’t referencing to your full post, but I’m glad you agree. I was referencing to the bit about branding, but more about that tonight. I’d better go work on the redesign. Couple hours more, people.

  13. I guess that this problem exists in real life too, that’s why it exists in the Net.

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