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!