The Personal Brand Is Dead - Deepstash
The Personal Brand Is Dead

The Personal Brand Is Dead

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The Personal Brand Is Dead

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A new era of anonymity

Gen Z would rather be anonymous online.

The youngest adult generation and the most online is frustrated with being surveilled and embarrassed by attention-seeking behaviours. This has caused a retreat into spaces where users rarely use their full names. 

Biz Sherbert recently observed, "In the mid-2010s, ambiguity died online—not of natural causes, it was hunted and killed." Now young people are trying to bring it back.

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  • Anonymity is partly a response to security concerns. During the Black Lives Matter protests, millions of young people downloaded the encrypted messaging app Signal to avoid surveillance. The anonymous hacker group Anonymous made a buzzy return. Other activists used tools for blurring protesters' faces in Instagram stories and moved to decentralised apps.
  • Anonymity can also be ideological. In crypto culture, known as Web3 culture, the idea was founded that transactions can be made online without exchanging personal information. It had a newer norm of showing a cartoon instead of a human face.

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Hiding your identity has always been important

The gradual reveal of personal information, and building up to reveal your face was once a give-and-take among people in the same online space. 

When Instagram and TikTok made it possible to make money from your face, personality, thoughts, beliefs and personal trauma, young people forgot how good it was not to be anyone in particular. But now they’ve been coming back around.

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The return to Tumblr reflects a longing for the more recent past before the age of the influencer.

  • Aspiring artists prefer to remain anonymous because they want to be known for their work or point of view, not for their face or personality. 
  • Even on Instagram, there are now thousands of niche meme accounts run by anonymous proprietors. 
  • Anonymous brands appear more authentic to some viewers because they aren’t selling anything or trying to become stars.

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