Facebook brought people into the web with their own names instead of nicknames. Rapidly the real name was spread into other services that did not require it. I had used a teenage nick “genjic” in all services that required one. About two years ago I decided that it is time to make a change in that policy and changed all my nicknames to “tommirissanen” or “rissanen”. Being a bit slow mover at this point, I ran into trouble with services like gmail that had been around for a while already. So, as neither of the previous were available, I now have a gmail and wave address beginning with “tmmrssnn”. I am quite happy that I was visionary enough years ago to buy myself the domain rissanen.fi which comes handy in these self-promotional days.
Bands and their members have been eager to promote themselves with their names as brands. Facebook has not been able to beat Myspace in this last game yet. Music is a special brand in the entertainment industry in its way of creating fandom. The way music is being consumed is going through a change. The amount of digital music versus physical copies is increasing rapidly and Spotify has created a completely new business model to the industry. Well, there is also Nokia’s “comes with music“, but for some reason nobody gives it any credit at all. One interesting phenomena is youtube’s “new” function. Almost all music can be found there and new songs are being shared with friends “legally” as youtube-links. And iPhone is a new interesting platform for musicians. An application featuring a rapper called T-Pain was sold 300 k times in three weeks for the price of $2,99 a piece.
But going back to branding. People in the web 2.0 tornado have a plethora of services under their name. Today I found out that Brian Solis, a greatly respected PR evangelist, author and blogger has made a very bold move in his personal branding. In Facebook he became a fan of his own fan page which as interesting in its own way. But the most notable release was the Brian Solis Facebook app. The idea is huge. Brian is by no means a nobody, he is well respected professional, but then again he is far from a rock star or a main stream celebrity. And yet the iPhone app to distribute his work in different fields for anybody, for free, makes all the sense in the world.
We have come a long way from Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame”. Your name is the most valuable asset in web 2.0 world and its importance is increasing all the time. With your name goes your personal networks and even if today they are tied to specific communities such as Facebook or Twitter, in the future it is possible to have more control over the whole of your web identity. This is something especially Jyri Engeström and Chris Messina have promoted lately. My advice is to take this seriously and start building your brand more systematically.