Personal branding is an interesting concept. The success or failure of personal brands is now less a thing controlled by backroom architects as it is the persona expressed online by the personality themselves. How else can we explain Disney diva Ashley Tisdale is #13, 80s rap star MC Hammer is #58, British sometimes author, sometimes actor Stephen Fry is #65 and magician Penn Jillette is #98 on the Twitter popularity scale? As a big fan of comic bookdom growing up, we thought it would be interesting to map the personal wikibrand superpowers of some of the today’s web’s brightest stars.
On the top to bottom side of the scale above are the superhero/web personalities realtive popularity and the other horizontal scale mapping their relative likability. See if you agree with our characterizations:
Superman – Shaquille ‘Neal ( @THE_REAL_SHAQ ) – who else would play the king of superheroes but the triple threat of entertainment – he’s 7’1″, has 3.2 million Twitter followers and has Superman-like versatility and superpowers of dunking, rapping, dancing, comedy, law enforcement, acting (see TV show Shaq Vs. and ignore his kryptonite phase movie Space Jam) – his only other frailty is free throws
Spiderman – Tony Hsieh from Zappos (@zappos ) – what other CEO has 1.7 million followers, like Spiderman with very few superhero qualities but using some guile and spidey senses, he has turned a life of being the son of Taiwanese immgrants, to a startup, to another startup Zappos which recently sold to Amazon for 1.2 billion dollars with a very unassuming and kind personality – the fact that both character and real life personality perform quite well on the web is not lost on us
Batman – Gary Vaynerchuk ( @garyvee ) – with a number of gadgets, tricks and hustle, each of these play well in a world dominated by the better supernaturally gifted (in Batman’s case) or better funded (in Gary Vee’s case), Gary sniffs his nose at the traditional wine establishment like Bruce Wayne does to high society life, I’m sure each has a dark or at least gruff side (Gary occasionally throws the gonzo-styled F-bomb down on Wine Library TV) but both are very popular – bam! zap! spliff!
Iron Man – Steve Jobs ( @ceoSteveJobs ) – the businessman superheroes – the parallels are uncanny – both are: boy geniuses, assiduous experimenters, afflicted with health scares, extremely wealthy, great at math, computers and have aggressive, demanding and temperamental personalities and can’t you see both being played well by Robert Downey
Wonder Woman – Lady Gaga (@ladygaga ) – the most popular female superhero meets the most popualr web personality this side of Oprah – both endorse love, peace and equality for all and have an affinity for bracelets and glam costumes, both seem to have superhero powers rooted in fashion – Wonder Woman with the Lasso of Turth, Bulletproof Bracelets, Golden Tiara and Sandal of Hermes and Lady Gaga from the Haus of Gaga which in her words are designed to instill the power and desire in “fans that will want to eat and taste and lick every part of me”
The Flash – Pete Cashmore ( @mashable ) – both their games are built on speed – one built from a chemical accident set caused by lightning and the other by caffeine, although keeping a quieter, lower profile than some superheroes/web stars, both could kick their contempories’ ass in superhero ability and personal brand web influence
Wolverine – Mark Zuckerberg (Wikipedia profile ) – both now have movies made up about themselves – Xmen Origins Wolverine and The Social Network – both are frequently misunderstood, one for bouts of berserker rage and the other for invasions of privacy, they can be characterized as loners who like to be by tehmselves even though they’re paradoxically part of large groups, both are resistant to against telepathic assaults, probing and open sourcing
Catwoman – Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) – both interesting personalities that are businesswomen and operatives in a primarily man’s world, have made enemies by vacillating back and forth from villain to hero and in Arianna’s case from Republican to Democrat to Independent, although attractive and well-coiffed, each of these feline-esque persoanl wikibrands carry a big whip for those that pass on the wrong side of their path
Aquaman – Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog ) – both personalities are well-liked particualrly among their respective tribes, be they sea life or book readers, both have excellent communications powers and almost sentient abilities, although they limit their overall poularity and superpowers by restricting their abilities and places they can perform (Aquaman can’t be out of water for more than 6 hours, Seth doesn’t participate on Twitter or Facebook and doesn’t provide comment forums on his blog)
Robin – Ashton Kutcher ( @aplusk ) – not known for elite level superhero or web skills, and more known as being the sidekick (to Batman or Demi Moore), still undeniably popular in a cotton candy, aw shucks, Punk’d type of way, youthful with boyish zeal and charm, initially Robin was a blend of Robin Hood with Sherlock’s Watson, both also have uttered the words “dude, where’s my car or batmobile?”. Holy irony, batman!
Captain America – Glenn Beck ( @glennbeck) – both have had many lives, Captain America being suspended in ice and phasing in and out of time and space, Beck has come back from drug and alcohol abuse – both are standard bearers for American values – one originated against the Nazi Axis powers and the other from big government and the Tea Party movement
The Hulk – Michael Arrington (@arrington ) – emotional, impulsive, raging, somewhat Jeckyll and Hyde, both are considered some of the greatest minds in tech (Bruce Banner and Arrington) but considered “a large man on the verge of losing his cool”
Green Lantern – Chris Anderson ( @TEDchris ) – each has two superpower assets – Green Lantern – a ring and lantern, Anderson – TED Talks and Wired, both have a strong social conscience, in fact original illustrators of Green Lantern imitated another socially conscious actor Paul Newman as their model, both make friends fairly easily and prefer to shine the spotlight on others
Thor – Linus Torvalds ( @linustorvalds ) – the two Norseman of their respective fields, Linus’ personal mascot is the Penguin, Thor’s is the hammer, Torvalds is an athiest and Thor is the product of many gods, many of whom don’t like him, both wield significant strength over their other peers but choose to hold their power in reserve, interestingly Torvalds is married to a six-time karate champion of Finland – there potential shared motto “Though I face most awesome odds… Thor is helpless… never!”
Zan (of Zan and Jena) – Perez Hilton (@perezhilton ) – not really known for immesne powers (being able to form something out of water and scrapping with Hollywood celebs), they both get more than their share of attention for chummying up to more powerful or outing them, usually causing a set of problems that follow, they perfrom the role of glorified gossipy telephone operators that both try to be early detection radar for their more influential friends
The Punisher – Matt Drudge ( @mattdrudge ) – the popular and libertarian anti-hero who always wants vengeance, the Punisher was described as “”grimmest and most compelling of characters” – perhaps an apt description, Drudge has been described alternatively as ” a menace to honest, responsible journalism. And to the extent that he’s read and people believe what they read, he’s dangerous” or “the kind of bold, entrepreneurial, free-wheeling, information-oriented outsider we need far more of in this country.” You decide.
There you have it…I’m sure there are other personal wikibrand superheroes that could enter the great servers of The Legion of Bits and Bytes, please add away.