As soon as the first day of lockdown came to an end, marketing experts invaded our social media feeds like mushrooms claiming this is the perfect time to work on our personal brand. The idea is compelling and infectious, we all have so much time on our hands. Why not use it to finally start making our dreams come true?
But the problem with this narrative is bigger than its terrible timing. While I do agree that, for some people, this could be the perfect time to quick start their dreams, I don’t think this advice works for everyone.
Why? Because the noise social media makes is becoming deafening. Suddenly, everyone is jumping on board, making their own noise, sharing an absurd amount of content, while the world struggles to regain its balance during one of the most devastating pandemics of our times.
People are not as focused as they used to be. News about Covid-19 are overwhelming. Everything else is devoured by the crisis, leaving an empty void within us. For some of us, learning to deal with confinement is becoming a real struggle.
If your purpose in working in your personal brand is to help these people, by all means, work on it. Make the type of noise these people terribly need to hear.
If your purpose is using your knowledge and help people discern the truth from the fake news, by all means, silence those voices that live only to create chaos in other people’s minds.
But if your personal brand is not tied to the efforts to manage and mitigate this pandemic, I think that being silent is the best thing to do. Social media, once crowded, is becoming terrifyingly deafening. This is the worst time to attract people to your content, the worst time to share your work… because, there’s never been so much competition as there is now. It was hard to stand out from the crowd before; it will be even harder to stand out in the next couple of weeks.
What can you do now, while the world plunges even deeper into chaos? You can learn. You can reinvent yourself. You can work on your projects privately. You can finally take back the time you spent on social media and use it on something else.
I disconnected from everything except my work and my family during these past two weeks. I no longer feel the pressure to publish. I’m no longer starving for likes and visibility. It took me a few days to understand just how dependent I’d become on that instant recognition. But I finally got it out of my system. Once again, I had been putting my faith on castles built on sand. After letting go for a few days, I realized how fragile they were.
Instead, now I’m focused on those things that were really important since the beginning of this personal journey: my work as a science writer, my family, and my fiction.
But my focus is no longer on productivity. My focus now is on living my days to the best of my abilities, without caring about the results.
The world will never be the same after this pandemic. You will probably never be the same. Don’t waste your time building a personal brand during this pandemic. Work on your evergreen content, work on our long-term projects. Let the world drown in noise, and use this time to find your true self in the middle of this chaos.