That thing on tv? That’s me!

There is this interpersonal phenomenon that I see happen at work and after reading the 1997 Fast Company article, The Brand Called You, I wonder if anyone else thinks that it’s about personal branding, too.

Picture this: One co-worker, in their downtime, is talking with another co-worker. Small talk, but someone brings up the topic of television shows (and by that, I include Netflix programs). Emphatically, one asks, “Do you watch *insert show name here*?” Now, the conversation can go one of two ways; one is where the person replies “yes” and then you see the light in the inquirer’s face light up and they explode with questions and comments, and the other is where the person replies “no” and you see the light in their eyes dim.

The first question I beg to ask is why television shows carry so much weight to an individual? Yes, I know that there are programs that are emotionally impactful, like Blackfish, but if your co-worker didn’t catch the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, it shouldn’t cause disappointment.

The second question I wish to ask is why finding someone else who likes the same program so important? I understand that it’s a topic that you can enjoy with another person, if you are out of things to talk about, or an ice-breaker with someone new. To be deflated when someone doesn’t watch just doesn’t seem like an appropriate response.

I theorize that television programs are used as personal branding within our personal lives. Have they become socially acceptable ways of branding ourselves? Branding ourselves on someone else’s creation granted, but we find something we can get behind, and stand for something.

If I like Family Guy, does that mean I brand myself as crude humour fan?

If I like Game of Thrones, does that mean I stand up for the underdog?

If I claim I have never watched Batman Returns, does it mean I don’t have a dark side?

Tell me if I’m reading too much into other people, or if there’s an ounce of truth here. I’d love to hear from other people and quit the dialogue in my own head!

Ellen Campbell


3 thoughts on “That thing on tv? That’s me!

  1. Great post Ellen! Lots of food for thought. I would venture to say that one of the top reasons for chatting about TV programs to colleagues is because it’s a great way to find common ground when there may not be much, and makes for enjoyable, light conversation (ok – unless it’s the Bachelor they are talking about !! :)) It’s funny how some people are so into a show that they think you’re crazy if you don’t watch it.
    And I have to say that I have not seen Batman Returns but I think I DO have a dark side..or at least my teenage kids think so hahaha! There goes that theory! 🙂
    – Donna

  2. Lots of great questions, I never really stopped to think how important TV shows really are in just day to day conversations. It’s definitely a great conversation starter because right away if you and the other person watch the same show(s) there is a bunch of topics to talk about right off the bat. “Who is your fave character?” “Did you see the newest episode?” “I can’t believe they did that or said that!” but I agree if someone asks me if I watch a certain show and I say no they shouldn’t be disappointed that i do not.

  3. I don’t believe the question of liking one show or the other is necessarily branding oneself as one thing or another. As Donna pointed out, I think it’s a matter of finding someone with a common interest and having something your both like or are passionate about to discuss. Think about your friends, they are all people you appreciate in your life because you have common interests and shared experiences. When you meet someone new or are talking to someone at the office, and find out you both like the same show, it’s like finding a friend, even temporarily and you can bond to some degree on this common interest.

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