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Summary:

Charlie Chaplin is one of the most iconic performers of our time. He is known across generations and cultures, and his films are still enjoyed today. Is it possible for a web worker to be that memorable? Possibly. But internet technology and culture is still too […]

Charlie Chaplin is one of the most iconic performers of our time. He is known across generations and cultures, and his films are still enjoyed today. Is it possible for a web worker to be that memorable?

Possibly. But internet technology and culture is still too young for us to say for sure. Still, there are some things that the average web worker can do to be almost as memorable as Chaplin.

The first impression counts. The first time people saw Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character, they immediately responded to him. He was charismatic, and presented himself as a gentleman despite his low social status. Also, audiences were drawn to his resourcefulness in times of crisis.

As web workers, where do people get their first impressions of us? The results that show up when people Google our names, our social networking profiles, our websites, our blog posts – why, that’s almost everything! Since the web is a non-linear medium, you can’t exactly pinpoint the exact time and way that people hear about your work for the first time.  In fact, with digital communication, it’s pretty easy to slip and give others a negative impression.

Because of this, web workers need to put their best foot forward – always. It’s a seemingly impossible task, but as long as you keep only your best work in the foreground, people will get the best possible impression of your work.

Have an easily recognizable brand. The “Tramp” character is so recognizable, that you can identify it from a silhouette or a few simple lines. The trademark mustache, over-sized pants, and bowler hat have made the character iconic, associating it with Chaplin himself and finding humor in dark political and economic situations.

Is your brand easy to identify? Do you apply a uniform image or style that can instantly be associated with you? Google and Apple both have easily recognizable logos, and Apple’s iPod ads (black silhouettes of people against a brightly colored background) are recognizable to the point that it’s being spoofed.

Apart from your logo and advertising, your voice should also resonate well with your targeted audience. This can reflect in your blog posts, website copy, and even your client emails. Do you communicate with small businesses, large corporations, or sole proprietors who are just starting out? Is your choice of words similar to theirs?

Sometimes, you’ll have to do everything yourself – or at least look like it. Charlie Chaplin was known for acting, directing, and even scoring his films. Although he could’ve done otherwise, this allowed him to exercise creative control over his work.

This is especially true for freelance web workers who are just starting out and handle client support, marketing, and the finances themselves. This also applies to employed telecommuters who pioneered the trend of remote working within their company.

Although doing everything yourself can apply some uniformity, it might get too time consuming – which is why some web workers hire contractors. But when you do that, keep in mind that one of the most important factors to make outsourcing successful is to expect and train others to create the same (or better) quality of work that you do. The work of your contractors should also represent your brand the way you do. Believe me, I’ve failed in this department once, and have suffered for it.

Times may have changed, but the basic ideas behind great branding are still the same. Even if we’re in the era of YouTube, microblogging, and teleworking, these are ideas we should still keep in practice – if we want our web work to be remembered despite changes in technology.

What do you do to make your work memorable?

Image Source: Wikimedia

  1. Charlie Chaplin Friday, July 25, 2008

    Charlie Chaplin is irrelevant in our time. Historically important, granted, but largely irrelevant. Fail.

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  2. Keep in mind that I was merely referring to him and his “Tramp” character in a branding/memorability perspective.

    As for his relevance today, although it’s off-topic, I certainly disagree, letting this video speak for itself (especially the part where he talks about technology connecting us all). That clip seems to highlight many of the underlying themes of his work – most of which are still, sadly, relevant today.

    I say “sadly”, because relevance implies that several problems in our society remain unchanged.

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  3. Wow, what an edgy statement by someone taking the subject’s name.

    If Chaplin is irrelevant today, then so are Da Vinci, Monet, and Dali. And therefore, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese will be 100 years from now too.

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  4. And I liked your post, Celine. :)

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  5. Irrelevant? oh, dear. Classic cinema and books are constantly referenced in modern culture. Part of enjoying these modern works is understanding their classic underpins.

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