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Social Media: Going organic or how branding is going out of control

In all the madness of social media, it seems like there’s a new tool or application released every day to help us better automate, control, manage or author our lives in the Socialsphere. With that said, I’ve never seen anyone publish best practices for social media icon design. If I were a brand like Facebook or Twitter, it would drive me crazy stumbling across a different version of my Facebook “f” or the Twitter “t” – I alone have seen at least 5 different versions of each just in the last month or so.

Try it yourself… search in Google Images for the Facebook “F” icon and see what comes up. At least 3 different shades of blue, in a box, out of a box, square corners, round corners. For me, this new type of organic growth mirrors social media and user-generated content itself. No longer are brand managers in control of how their brand is interpreted, re-interpreted and then re-purposed across the web. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Too early to say. But one thing’s for sure, today’s brand manager can’t be the uber-control freaks of the past.

Perhaps adherence to the visual integrity of a brand is the new measure of how much “street-cred” your brand has online. The more respected you are as a brand, the less people will deviate from the original version of your brand identity when reposted. Hmm. Here are some nice social media icons I ran across, I couldn’t name them all by sight aside from the obvious ones but it’s a nice commentary about how many players there are in this space, with more added each day.

Social media icon set

Which online brands are your favorite? Have you ever bastardized a social media/online brand’s logo in your own stuff? Luckily, the brand police aren’t looking.

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