02/28/2011 06:39 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Personal or Branded? That Is the Question

There was a time long, long ago when to say something was a "brand" would bring to mind soup (Campbell's) or canned pineapple (Dole). This dates me, and so did my high school boyfriend, escorting me to memorable restaurants where nary a canned or branded food product was served. But that's another story.

People are so busy branding themselves today that they are losing their minds and their lives in the endeavor. For those who may not have noticed, "branding" has come to mean the endeavor of promoting yourself, getting notice and applause for yourself as if you were a company. Being your own public relations director is a full time job for almost everyone I know. Via internet or simply on the social streets, creating a fan base for yourself offers the ordinary American what once was called "The Impossible Dream" -- being famous for absolutely nothing. Thank you, social media!

The following is not a defense for companies and professional entities that during this past presidential campaign in terms of financial contributions begged to be considered "a person." However, maybe they were genuinely befuddled. After all, if everyone is a potential brand, couldn't we say that the individual, likewise, is begging to be regarded as a company or professional entity? Just a thought.

Try to count the number of times people on television refer to themselves or another person as a "brand."

This is evidence that the experience of being a person is going bye-bye. Living in a personal way is finished due to an overwhelming lack of interest. In its place, having a brand that is as large as you can make it is the goal and work of the everyday Joe.

As we all know, a brand is nothing without becoming a household name. So fame is the end goal, and from beginning to end, fame of brand is the direction being promoted for how we live and make our mark on life.

Questions to consider: When my name and my person becomes a brand, how deep does the depersonalization go? Will I have time to be personal?

Do I refer to myself in the third or fourth person?

How exactly does this branding thing work? Who will share the shelf with my brand, (the former "me"), will it have a prime location, and how long will its shelf life be?

At least, these are more comfortable questions than the formerly inscrutable, how long will I live? Or indeed, the golden oldie: what is my life about? Now that's a subject left blowin' somewhere in Bob Dylan's wind.

Although we are acting more and more like cattle, I say it is not too late to stray from the herd.

Personal or branded? That is the question.

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