We’ve covered quite a bit on social media, but this post is going to talk about being genuine, being yourself and how that can help, and sometimes hurt you in social media.
Let’s face it, we all have a personality, we all have quirks and we all have that which is desirable and that which is not….showing that to the world via social media and networks can either shoot you to the top, or bury you in the mud. While reading and finding out more about social media and networks, I found a great post on how to socially network if you’ve been laid off over on Scobelizer.com. The unfortunate truth is, I left a job in September, found a temporary gig in November and was laid off from that temporary gig in December, it didn’t last quit as long as I wanted, but that’s a different story all together.
The article details ideas on what to do and what not to do when using social media to enhance job seeking. Mainly, there are a lot of things people have on the web about themselves that really is not professional: drinking photos, slams towards others, slams against companies, child-like behavior, rude, crude and you name it. Unfortunately landing a job, wherein HR managers and other execs are getting more “social media savvy” this can spell doom. But what about if you are not looking for employment? What impact does anything have then? One word could be used to solve both situations and scenarios: Genuine.
We have all seen the “Only use XYZ components and accessories with your XYZ Gidget” from product manufacturers. But when we talk about being genuine, being yourself, that’s different to a whole new degree. The one thing I have noticed is too many people have an “online alter-ego” that is different than they are in person. Why? Anonymity? Privacy concerns? Who knows…. When we are in social gatherings in the real-world, how many times to people (either ourselves, or people we meet) put on a front, or become someone for the setting? You look at some of the people I have mentioned during this series of articles, and you will find out from reading their blogs, watching their videos, seeing their tweets etc that they remain pretty consistent and constant across the board, no matter what the social setting online is. I would venture to say they are the same in person, and if they were not their peers would probably have well pointed that out to the world now, because that is what people do.
The important point here is: WHO ARE YOU?
Figure that out, and then stick to it. If, as pointed out in the article on Scobelizer.com, you are a programmer, blog about programming, tweet about it, setup your LinkedIn to be that. Be who you are. Better, Say who you are and Be who you are. Above all, stick to it, no matter the medium: online, offline, on the phone, in email, on Twitter. Why? Because people can see when you are not who you say or claim to be. Example: I am a web developer, I blog some about web design, web development, PHP programming, Images and graphics and social media because it all ties to web development. The occasional post, such as this one about getting my first Harley seems okay because it lets people, such as future employers, know that yes I am a rounded person and do have hobbies outside of sitting in front of a screen. But much of the truly personal stuff is kept elsewhere separate, and much of that is highly moderated as to what is actually in the “wild” for the web to see.
So in keeping with being Genuine, I have started to make a more concerted effort in keeping all my social interactions, blogs, comments, tweets, and so on, centered around who I am, what I do and why. Is that so difficult for people to do? I think sometimes it is, because in any social setting it is easy to let those who know us least think we are better, stronger, faster or whatever than we really are. Unfortunately in social media, this is found out fast and furious and it can kill any chance of successfully taking advantage of all the promise new media holds. You may say something at a small party to gain attention of another person, you might try the same in social media online. Either way, you are bound to be found and bashed later for it. It’s the simple fact that social media can move this finding and bashing to a speed at which you will shudder next time you feel to “exaggerate” a little or smudge a “little white lie”.
The next article in this series is going to do a wrap-up by presenting a nice list of things social media can do for us as individuals, and maybe a bit on what it can do for businesses. Then comes the wrap-up of ideas discussed throughout the series, kind of a check-list if you will.