The Journey To Authentic Self
Building your reputation in cyberspace may feel like a new concept, but it really is just the tried and true “old neighborhood” way of getting things done. When people lived in small towns, everybody knew everyone, and everyone knew everyone’s personal and professional business (think Andy Griffith’s Mayberry ). Towns and villages were self monitoring. Children all went to the same school, most people went to the same church/temple, and the businesses serviced the local population. If the butcher was skimping on your cut of meat, everyone knew. If a child, or adult, was misbehaving, the community would ultimately bring them in line (think Harper Valley PTA). Everyone had a stake in the outcome of their actions because they knew they would be held accountable to their family and neighbors. In many ways, social media has brought us back to those days – the days of being part of a community.
Facebook has become ‘Main Street,’ the center of town. When someone has something to share about their lives, they ‘Status’ it. When a business is doing something right, they ‘Like’ it. Ideas are ‘Tweeted’ across the globe, like they used to be discussed at the local diner. The pace has picked up, but the concept is the same: it is your community that stands behind you and supports you and helps you succeed, and your community is now on-line and talking.
That’s right. Your kids have been using it for as long as they can remember, but more importantly, companies, your company, my company, and the next company you want to work for, is using it. (Check out “Ranking the Top 100 Global Brands” to look at how Dell, Toyota, Starbucks, and others are using social media)
Social media is now part of our lives and it is not going away. Basically, adapt or die! (I know that is harsh but I think it is true. “Adapt or Die” is the title of Chapter 1, of Socialized!: How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social, by Mark Fidelman.)
If you do not use social media, you are abdicating control of your personal message. Whether personal or business, people are talking, so why not make sure that you are in the conversation. Jeff Bullus, author of “Blogging The Smart Way,” says that “The thing to keep in mind about brands that don’t want to engage in Social Media is that these conversations are going on about you whether you are there or not, and whether you want to hear it.”
I am sorry to break it to you but… your High School friends are talking about you on Facebook and pictures of your dog are on Instagram. But more importantly, your boss’s boss just ‘Tweeted’ about a new product that she thinks may be the next big thing, and you missed it. I really think you want to be in the conversation.
Everyone has at least one story that they love to tell others. And when they recite it the whole room gets quiet and everyone listens. That, my blog friends, is the ‘it’ factor, the passion. Maybe it is just your recent trip to Paris, or pictures of the baby, but for many it is more professional, your thoughts on Global Warming, some ideas on how to build a better mousetrap, or a unique way to solve a tricky business problem. There is a passion in you or you would not be reading this.
Once you narrow in on your personal brand, social media gives you the ability to communicate to a wide audience. Sharing your thoughts, your views, your passions, helps to build an authentic picture of your expertise and let’s people know what value you bring to the global conversation.
Allison Graham, in her book “From Business Cards to Business Relationships: says that “The two most predictable questions that will be asked when you meet someone are, “Do you have a business card?” and “What do you do?” Your digital business card should communicate what you are passionate about. This is your chance to show your stuff. and Profitable Networking Made Easy,”
Remember the ‘old neighborhood’ that I was talking about, well it now has gone digital. And whether it is your local church group or what Etienne Wenger calls a “community of practice” (a group primarily made of practitioners in a field or profession who are passionate about the work that they do), they are all connecting through social media. People want to be connected and they are connecting through online communities in the millions. In the end, it is your communities that will be your biggest supporters and where you will grow your online reputation.(Check out Design to Thrive: Creating Social Networks and Online Communities that Last, by Tharon Howard)
Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.
(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)
© Lorian Lipton and The Digital Attitude, LLC 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lorian Lipton and The Digital Attitude with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.