Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably I noticed I changed my name there yesterday from @HMXMrTerrific to the simpler and easier-to-type @AllenHolt. I don’t want to alarm anyone with the change — sorry if I made you nervous, @MrPope — so I figured you deserved an explanation. (Yes, I’m going to manage to be wordy about something as relatively inconsequential as a Twitter handle.)
First off, no, I am most definitely not leaving Harmonix. I love it here way way too much. I’m giving up the “HMX” tag in front of my name mainly because I don’t really do anything to represent Harmonix on my feed, so it doesn’t feel quite right to use it. I’m not exactly the face of the company, y’know? While I do indeed quite happily promote Harmonix whenever I can via Twitter (or anywhere else), it’s not explicitly part of my job. The people on our fantastic Community team, the ones who actually deal with the public as part of their day-to-day jobs and represent Harmonix at massive public events… they’re completely justified in prefixing their handles with “HMX.” And we have several other people who have become something like “faces of HMX” who also benefit the company by using the tag.
Honestly, though? I only had the “HMX” tag in there because I was showing off the fact that I work at Harmonix and wanted people to think I’m cool. I still want people to think I’m cool, of course, even if I’m really not — but now I want them to have that mistaken notion based on my own merits and not those of the awesome awesome company for which I work.
So why did I change it? Well, as mentioned above, “AllenHolt” is a helluva lot easier to type and spell (and even read) than “HMXMrTerrific.” More importantly, though: I want to build the “brand” of my name. And oh em gee, bee tee dubs, do I hate thinking of what I’ve done as “brand building” because that thought has the stink of synergistic revenue-enhacing marketing douchebaggery all over it… but, really, that’s exactly what I’m doing, so if the stinky shoe fits, I’ve gotta wear it.
Someday, probably in the not-that-far-off future, I’m going to want to do something where having my name established is going to be important. I’m not completely sure what just yet, but I wanted to put another stake in the virtual ground to say “Hey, this is me.” My full, real name was available on Twitter, so I wanted to take it now before some other Allen Holt decides to try to build his online brand with it.
I’ve always been loathe to self-promote because it’s always felt like Not Me. In fact, people who constantly pimp themselves have historically tended to rub me the wrong way (not in a personal way, just in an “ew” way). But I get it now. See, this is the thing: if I don’t promote myself, no one else is gonna. I can’t wait to be “discovered” like aspiring Hollywood starlets in the ’40s. It’s not anyone else’s job to tell people to read my stuff or to look at what I’m doing. If I want to build a name for myself, I have do A) do Cool Things and Good Work and B) tell people about it. A) must come before B) in this scenario, but there’s no reason I can’t get B) set up while I’m still developing A).
So that’s what I’m now working on. I’m still not doing enough Cool Things just yet, but I’m thinking and trying and planning, and Ideas are hovering about the hazy horizon in my brain. Basically, changing my Twitter handle was just an early step in a long and still vague plan for eventual World Domination. Or at least World, um, Networking and/or Self-Promotion. Nothing to be worried about!
(And hey! You should be following me on Twitter if you’re not already!)