Gonna change my name to Hannibal, or maybe just Rex

Dear reader, just to keep you wondering, I have rebranded.

If you are a regular reader, you may have subscribed some time ago to a blog called It Keeps Me Wondering, and been happy enough with that, only to suddenly today received in your inbox, or discover in the feed on your Reader, a post from a site called Blathering About Nothing.

The funny thing is, I don’t even have a Marketing Manager, nor have I hired an online consultancy firm who has advised me to rebrand. I just have myself and my usual uncertainty, and my tendency to be unsure about the choice I made 4.5 years ago for what would be a public “image.”

Unfortunately for me, through lack of planning a strategic marketing campaign at the time of my birth, as well as the non-existence of a public profile that I could capitalise on by changing my name to one word and incorporating a dollar sign or hashtag into it, I hadn’t realised that I was a brand when I set up my blog. Now, 4 1/2 years later, my poor blog has a split personality.

When I decided to start blogging, I agonised for weeks over what to call my blog, umming and aahing over possible names for weeks, until my main impetus was to just bloody well pick a name and get writing. I had a list of names in a notebook, so I picked one out: Is That Coffee? Thus the url: isthatcoffee.wordpress.com

(How did I come up with that? Well this all happened during a period when I had given up drinking coffee – I’ve since fallen off that particular wagon – and probably had a lot of spare time on my hands from all those cups of coffee I wasn’t making or drinking.) I guess I thought that was kind of amusing, because it implied that I was slightly hysterical about coffee – and left it pretty open as to what I would write about.

Only days after creating the blog, I came up with a name I liked a lot more – It Keeps Me Wondering. I liked it because it implied that I’d be writing about what I was thinking about, rather than what I was doing. My ideas, rather than my life, if you like.

So I changed the name to It Keeps Me Wondering, but didn’t change the url. Once my blog started to get a few regular followers, I wished I’d changed the url to match, but I’ve continually been too scared to take that step because it sounds like there is a risk of breaking links and losing followers. So I had a blog called It Keeps Me Wondering, and a url address that didn’t match, and meanwhile I wrote my first few posts.

Soon I wrote two posts inspired by some plays by Samuel Beckett, a literary hero of mine:

Blathering About Nothing in Particular, and Blathering About Nothing in Particular, Part 2.

These were named after a line from Waiting for Godot:

…yes, now I remember, yesterday evening we spent blathering about nothing in particular. That’s been going on now for half a century.*

Beckett’s minimalistic plays from the 1950s-60s have almost no action in the traditional sense, and often cross-examine the meaning, or absence of meaning, in language, and by extension, in life, through seemingly absurd dialogues, or monologues. His characters often make reference to the fact that their conversation is both repetitive and ultimately meaningless.

The irony in that concept seemed to fit perfectly with the idea of me, sitting alone writing a blog which would no doubt often be repetitive and ultimately meaningless.

Inspired by this idea, I then changed my user name to Blathering, and the default category for posts, when I’m just writing rubbish, to Blathering About Nothing. I’ve often thought about changing the name of the blog to Blathering About Nothing, in a little homage to Beckett, and also a humorous nod to essentially the same thing – that the blog is about ideas, anything and everything, and essentially, nothing. I like the self-deprecating inference and it also feels very Irish, which is my heritage. The only reason I haven’t is, as I said, uncertainty, and fear of causing confusion for followers.

But it seems that I’ve committed one of the worst sins possible in the world of creating an online presence, which was to have a blog title, a url, and an online “identity” that were all mismatched.

A while back I wrote a post about a book I read, that references contemporary television shows, to illustrate the philosophies behind Pre-Modern, and Modern thought, and the self-imposed problems Modern thought creates. The fundamental difference was around the concept of identity – in Pre-Modern thought, what we did constituted our identity, in Modern thought, what we do only reflects our identity.

So today I spent time pondering the ultimate Modern dilemma of identity:  how many different online profiles do I have now, and should I be trying to consolidate some of them? And, if my online profiles are identity-reflecting, what does it say about me that my blog alone has about 3 different identities?  These matters are, as you can see, of grave importance in the great chain of being.

In the world of social media, having a “consistent brand” is the golden chalice to aim for. It seems to be becoming our primary obligation. Certain human beings are now often referred to as a “brand”, particularly if they go by only one name, or even better, if the media have managed to merge their name with their partner’s name to form one catchy name, as if they are the same being, ie, Brangelina. (If you are not sure who that is, congratulations! You win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Brangelina mansion.)

As if  I have not created enough random chaos by having a blog with an identity crisis, I’ve also delved into Facebook, where I am myself, and into Twitter, where I have a profile that is “me” where I tweet about the arts, or social justice issues that I think are important, as well as a Twitter profile as Blathering, the author of this blog. (@_Blathering)

So in summary, after reading a book about the dilemmas of Modern thought, I had one of my own and as a result, finally made a decision.  Now, at least, the name of the blog, my gravatar, the theme of “blathering” that runs through the blog, and my (second) Twitter account, all match up. Phew!

The long list of things that keep me wondering should hopefully now be shorter by one item.

*

Stay tuned for the next episode where we discuss whether I should make the following changes:

a. Change my name to Hannibal, or maybe just Rex?

b. Change my shorts

c. Change my life

d. Change into a 9 year old Hindu boy, get rid of my wife?

*

 

*the line from Waiting for Godot is said by Estragon, to Vladimir, p.66 in my very old copy.

*the changes above are not really under serious consideration at this point in time. They are lyrics stolen from the great Modern philosopher, Tom Waits, from his albums Goin’ Out West, and Step Right Up.

*Hidden somewhere in this post is the Twitter handle of my personal account – but in keeping with my truly non-strategic approach to social media, it doesn’t have anything to do with any of the other “identities” mentioned here.

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15 Comments

  1. Congrats on your brand alignment, and I wish you luck in changing Tom Waits’ shorts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. I have struggled with the same thing! I wonder if I have too many conflicting online identities and is being a “wreck” (albeit a lucky one) something I want to convey on all of them?

    But, in reading your post, I have discovered there is a certain charm in following ideas that are meaningful for you, rather than what “experts” say. It’s like being the rebel of blogs. No matter what the name, your blog will continue to be one of my very favorites to read! It always keeps me wondering what will be blathered about next! 😀

    Like

    Reply
    • Aw shucks – thanks Lucky! That’s a really nice observation you’ve made. I have pretty much followed what’s meaningful for me….at the expense of capitalising on what the “experts”probably say I should do create a consistent “brand” and get more views. Hopefully honesty counts for something!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. I liked It keeps me wondering. It was unusual and, in this game, unusual is good. And after all, wondering is what you seemed to do a lot of, and to rather good effect.

    Blathering about nothing? No, sorry, it’s a step downwards. It’s an empty phrase and, worse still, it’s self-deprecating. It says “Don’t bother with me, I’m blathering about nothing.” There’s a risk people will take you at your word.

    On the other hand, It keeps me wondering awakes interest. “Oh, wondering? Wondering about what? Might this be interesting? I’ll take a look.”

    Of course, you can do whatever you please with your blog and I would be among the first to defend your right to do so. If you like the new title, fair enough, you’re the one who decides. I simply express my thoughts on the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thank you Silver Tiger, I appreciate your honesty. Your comments make sense and probably show why I shouldn’t work in marketing, since I tended to be convinced that a name I made up myself was not as catchy or memorable as a name that is a quotation from a famous literary mind. Nevertheless I’ll stick with the change for now but maybe I will keep wondering about it!

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  4. And, of course, for those of your fans who follow you in a subscription service such as RSS, it makes no difference as this will continue to deliver your posts without a hiccup.

    I have, however, made the appropriate alteration to my blogroll.

    Like

    Reply
  5. NotAPunkRocker

     /  July 15, 2015

    I’m also at a crossroads, trying to figure out what I want to do now. I never thought I would lose steam, but wham. There, it just happened. All I really know for sure is if I do “rebrand” or whatever I decide to go with, I will figure out a name that makes more sense than the one I have now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Oh dear! It seems like some people have it all sorted before they start, doesn’t it?

      I actually really like the name NotAPunkRocker. It makes me think that you ARE a punk rocker, then recall that it is in the negative so must mean that you prefer some other kind of music, or don’t see yourself as a punk, but I like how the association with punk rock is made anyway, even though you are denying any connection!

      It also reminds me a little bit of a line from a song by Michelle Shocked “when I grow up I wanna be a punk rocker” – I don’t follow her music any more (her values seem to have radically changed in the past decade & the little bit I’ve heard about that puts me right off)…but I still like her old music from the 80s and 90s.

      Like

      Reply
  6. weebluebirdie

     /  July 29, 2015

    I feel your pain. I didn’t grasp the implications of setting up a blog. In particular I didn’t grasp that I had put up my real flipping email address. This of course defeats the whole purpose of my non-selfie gravatar and refusal to name Real People or places. I had an episode with Twitter – I do it for work purposes. I panicked when I realised that by following my blog persona with my work persona, people I actually knew might work out I had a blog and read it. I know, that sounds illogical, but I want my blog to be a place where I can share what I want. True, it’s often not that personal, but this isn’t the point. My panic was confirmed when a friend started following my blog Twitter feed. I still don’t know how that happened. I don’t do Facebook in real life, so that’s not an option for promotion. And therein lies my dilemma – how does someone who wants to be anonymous build readership?? I don’t think I could cope with the work required to have multiple persona.

    I started my blog with the intention of it being my little self-help journal as I documented my journey to better mental health. This was fine until I had an urge to share some “artwork” and that was only a short step to random Haiku. Now it’s just whatever turns up in my head. Such a no-no for the branding where you’re supposed to aim for all that consistency malarkey.

    I think I’m okay with that. Because I only have a few regular readers and not too many people that I follow, it means that I can keep up with folk – and have time to leave long winded comments!!! We call it blethering over here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Haha, well blether away, I don’t mind a long comment…I’ve been known to post one myself! 😉 as fir the answer to your question about how to build up readership when you blog anonymously about anything and everything – it’s a self-set challenge, isn’t it! I also don’t promote my blog through anything other than an anonymous Twitter account with 10 followers. Occasionally I retweet on my personal Twitter account which hash total of about 70 followers – but even then, I don’t retweet often, bc like you I don’t want them to know the blog is mine. !

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • weebluebirdie

         /  July 29, 2015

        Congratulations on getting to double figures on Twitter – think I’m at 9. One day Freshly Pressed will recognise the sincerity of randomness and we will go viral 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well actually, I’ve been Freshly Pressed twice, so never fear, randomness should not stop you from reaching those heady heights! As a consequence the number of followers on my blog is in 4 figures. The sudden increase at those times was exciting, but seriously, I think 10 followers on Twitter is the real number of people who actually ever take the time to read a whole post, or have ever read more than 1 post. I’m happy to have a hand full of readers who actually read posts, and even sometimes comment! So – thanks for reading – and commenting!

        Like

      • weebluebirdie

         /  July 29, 2015

        Oops, well that shows how much attention I pay to figures! Didn’t know you’d had accolade of Freshly Pressed – well done! You’re right about the number of sincere followers. I think a lot of people just skim through posts blindly clicking on like and follow – it doesn’t mean they’ll come back. So long as my posts resonate with one or two of my regulars, that’s a successful post!

        Like

      • You didn’t miss anything – I don’t publicise the number of followers on my blog. I truly can’t see why it should matter to anyone else. I’m sure that most of that number have never looked at it again after clicking “follow'”. So I agree – if a few people are moved enough to respond to a post, that’s a successful post in my book, too! I guess everyone’s aims are different and if I wanted to make money from my blog then I’d have to change track. Luckily, that’s not my goal. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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