Mitch Joel and Mashable both are raising red flags about social media being focal points for insane quantities of narcissistic behavior. Mitch asks:

So, the question is this: how do people build and develop their personal brands, if all we really want is content that is valuable to us and not self-promotional in any way, shape or form?

This is the essence of empowering a personal brand. It’s not about you, but what you do.

Batman, from flickr“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I *do* that defines me.” – Batman (2005)

Want to take your products, services, brands, and company to the next level? Forget about reinforcing brand and focus on what you’re doing to make things better for your customers. Want to see a great example at a small business level? Look at how Matthew Ebel is working his subscription service. Ask his VIPs if he’s all about himself or all about them, and you’ll find nearly universal agreement that he’s making the music FOR the customers, not just trying to sell them whatever he can for a buck.

Look at some of the powerhouses in new media, like Beth Kanter and Beth Dunn, movements like Twestival and Free Iran – all of these folks are less about them and more about their work, about promoting their efforts to help others. Look at Facebook’s applications – one of the most powerful and popular applications? Causes.

It’s not who you are, it’s what you do that will turn your brand up to 11.

Photo credit: Chan Chan

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