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Friends, Foes, or Fans?

I find it interesting to look at bloggers as brands.
There are a ton of pieces out there about how to use social media to build your brand, that you yourself are now a brand, and that in order to grow your own business, be it blog or something else, you need to know what your brand is.
Kooky, is it not? 
I really like Alistair Fairweather's back to back posts over on memeburn discussing this:
Most of us are realizing the truth about what needs to be done online, but the funny thing I see is that there are a lot of "fans" of fellow bloggers. Hell, I know I am one, but pushing that past "fandom" is pretty much impossible online isn't it?
The other word, even for personal bloggers, that we really need to use to describe these folks are customers. The fans are consuming your output, but does it make them anything more than that? If you consider yourself a brand, can your friends ever be more than fans?
I consider myself both and sadly enough finding that I would almost rather be "just friends."
Photo: ruurmo
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