An influential personality with a large social media following — who is also on TV, radio, and print — recently tweeted unfounded, misinformed, and prejudiced opinions as fact. In anger, I DM’d (a direct or private message on twitter) a friend, “Stop me, I’m about to go publicly postal on so and so.” She messaged me back, “So and so is great in person, but rude on SM, I stopped following them.” I’ve met this individual eye to eye and was impressed how personable they were. I didn’t call them out. I did share the facts with them (from a periodical they write for) I haven’t stopped following… yet.
A couple years ago, before presenting at a social media club, an attendee came up to me and said, “You don’t look like your avatar.” He was right, I didn’t. Although it was a great headshot, it didn’t fit my persona, so I changed it. Of course, now some people expect to see pink hair.
Who Are You — Who, Who, Who, Who?
Should you be “you” on social media? I think you should. If we subscribe to the idea of branding ourselves, shouldn’t the brand be unified? Pretty basic marketing stuff. Take controversial subjects, for instance — politics, religion, Justin Bieber… if you wouldn’t share your opinions openly and honestly in a public face to face setting (and not just to close friends), then don’t do it on social media.
How to be Sure You’re Being YOU on Social Media
• Before posting anything on social media, say it out loud. Hearing the words gives them new meaning. Ask yourself, “Would I say this in public?”
• Consider who your post may upset. Ask yourself, “If the person(s) this may affect were sitting next to me, would I say this?”
• If you find yourself sharing and conversing about topics only on social media, topics you wouldn’t dare discuss while looking someone in the eye, you are Jekylling (or is that Hydeing?) Take some time to rethink your social media topics and approach.
• When in doubt, hit delete, not send. I do this several times every day. If it may be seen as hurtful or ambiguous, why take the chance?
If you’re presenting a different personality on social media than to those face to face, your personal brand is broken. Fix it. Present a unified brand to the world. Are you ever Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?