Two years ago, I implored my readers to ‘create their own brand and identity’ rather than choosing to wear, discuss, or identify with something just because it’s seen as ‘cool’ in our current society.
I still stand by that; I covered the logos on my laptop, my clothes are fairly plain, and a few weeks after I published that, I designed the ‘Jetroid’ logo to foster my own identity. I was even considering getting a few shirts made with that logo (and perhaps others that I could design).
Since then, I’ve been having some more thoughts about brand and identity, as I mentioned yesterday.
I go by two names online; my real name, Jet Holt, and my alias, Jetroid.
In the past, ‘Jetroid’ was the prominent identity, and I used random things I was interested in as my display picture. Recently I’ve been transitioning to make ‘Jet Holt’ the more prominent identity (and using my real photos). I’m considering relegating Jetroid to specifically refer to my endeavours within the Synth community.
Well, it feels inauthentic to ‘go by’ a brand online. If I set my username to Jetroid, I’m ‘hiding behind’ that brand. My writings and postings aren’t coming from me; they’re coming from My Brand. There’s a subtle but important difference there.
Personally, if I’m writing something online, I want it to be clear that these are my human thoughts, written by an individual with care or passion. I don’t think you can have that when you’re purely represented as a brand. “I think” becomes “We think”, “I made” becomes “We made”, etc.
I also realised that most of the people I respect online go by - or are most well known by - their real names. (Or they use a ‘English-ised’ name in place of their real name to make it more approachable).
David Goggins. Pieter Levels. Naval Ravikant. Joe Rogan. Simone Giertz. Colin Furze.
And when I started to think about this for myself, I even realised that some of my friends have deprecated their older aliases in favour of their real names, too.
There are still a few well-known people that I respect who are better known for their alias. Patrick McKenzie is most well known by his online alias
patio11. As he states on his website: “I’m Patrick McKenzie. Your engineering team knows me as patio11.” He became famous for this alias a decade and a half ago when the internet was a very different place, so I’m not sure how much I count it. Plus, he does mention his real name before his alias. Maybe he regrets not using his real name?
The big exception seems to be with musicians and entertainers, who often go by an alias. I’m not sure why that is, but I don’t consider myself within that category.
But you need a brand too
Of course, your business/company probably needs a brand too. Part of this is so that you can have a sense of seperation of concerns, with a brand for each area of work. “Follow me if you’re interested in me as a person. Follow my brand if you’re interested in my brand.” If someone is only interested in my work on X, they probably don’t care about my experiences with Y.
This is all getting a little abstract, so I’ll bring it back to my real circumstances.
I like to post on this blog about whatever takes my fancy. I upload photos of my travels to my instagram (with small accompanying stories). I don’t post to my twitter anywhere near as much as I know that I should, but in an idealised world I’d post about my work, projects, and achievements there.
If someone is only interested in my work on Eurorack modules, say, then they have nowhere specific to follow for just that. ‘Jetroid’ is already printed on hundreds of PIC microcontrollers in Eurorack modules around the world, so I’ve been thinking that it makes sense to transition the ‘Jetroid’ name to refer purely to my Eurorack (and other synthesizer) projects.
To that end, as mentioned, I think that I will phase out the use of ‘Jetroid’ as an online persona, instead opting to have ‘Jet Holt’ be the main profile name, though I don’t mind continuing to use ‘Jetroid’ as part of a ‘Handle’. (eg: my Twitter handle is currently JetroidMakes, but the username is ‘Jet Holt’)
To tie things back in to my post from yesterday, I intend to have the jetroid.com domain become a website dedicated to my synthesiser projects. (One day)
The additional domain I purchased, jetro.id, will (one day) be used as a link shortener.