Posted October 10, 2009 3:13 am by with 14 comments

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The-Unicorn-Costume-Was-A-Bad-Idea-full I remember once hearing someone say, “you are your business card”. Essentially, the idea is that the way you present yourself in public defines who you are–more than any piece of paper ever can. I think this is extremely true today, now more than ever. Think about it this way, if you are always there to help others, provide good ideas and contribute to the dialog in a positive way, then you become the guy/girl that helps others, provides good ideas and contributes to the dialog in a positive way. In the same tone, if you are obnoxious and annoying then you are the obnoxious and annoying guy/girl. Or if you dress in a creepy unicorn costume, then you might be that creepy guy that dresses in a unicorn costume. We define ourselves through our actions.

When I worked in IT, I was in an office setting 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Because of this I wore collared shirts with buttons down the front, kept my face regularly shaved and stayed away from politics and religion at the water cooler. Now that I own my own business I feel like I haven’t seen a button in years and can’t even remember what a collar looks like!

With Social Media we can present ourselves in public while in the privacy of our living room. Which means that it is very easy to drop all the formalities associated with good manners and proper etiquette and do what ever the hell we want. This is a truly powerful advantage that we have over those just a few years ago. But it can have dangerous consequences if we are not careful.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know what some of you are thinking. Social media is all about self expression, and being someone you’re not isn’t sincere and genuine. What I am talking about is not doing things that go against who you are, but in fact staying completely true to yourself at all times. The problem is we all do things out of character now and then and, with social media these things are recorded for the whole world to reference later.

How To be Yourself in Social Media

  1. Don’t read stupid bullet points about how to be your self, write your own.
  2. Don’t be witty, unless of course you already are witty, in which case: carry on.
  3. Don’t look for exposure by doing something uncharacteristic.
  4. Don’t follow the leader and hang out with the cool kids.
  5. Talk about what you enjoy and makes you happy.
  6. Quit trying to be something and just be you.
  • Joe could you clarify number ‘4’ please? One should not one follow the leaders in one’s field of interest, like ORM and Andy Beal???
    .-= Oscar Del Santo´s last blog ..The true ROI of the Social Media =-.

    • Exactly! 😛

      I’ll let Joe explain what he meant, but I’m assuming by “follow” he means don’t be a sheep. Be your own man, don’t be a groupie. 😉

      • Thanks Andy, I see no contradiction between following industry leaders and being ‘your own man’ as you put it. Quite on the contrary, I see it if anything as a mark of distinction -provided one is following ‘the right leaders’ of course.
        .-= Oscar Del Santo´s last blog ..Online Strategy 101 =-.

    • No, thats exactly what I ment, don’t follow Andy Beal, he doesn’t know what hes talking about! LOL! Just Kidding Andy!

      No, what I mean is be your own person and make your own decisions based on your own thoughts and ideas, while at the same time drawing inspiration from those that know what they are talking about. If I want to learn about basketball I am going to watch Charles Barkley. But I am not going to shave my head bald, go on TV and talk crazy. Catch my drift?

  • I love this post, Joe!

    I think #4 is an excellent point. As with everything else, there are too many brown-nosers even in social media. It’s easy to identify them and they turn my stomach.
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..A Cloudy Blanket at a Haleakala Sunrise =-.

  • and…where on earth did you find that hilarious photo?
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..A Cloudy Blanket at a Haleakala Sunrise =-.

    • I found the photo some where on tumblr. It came at a great moment because my niece wants to be a pony for Halloween, so I sent it to my sister for inspiration.

  • I am so careful as to what I say and post into any social media for the main reason that anyone doing a little research has access to your online foot print. It is something you could have done as a joke but can be viewed as something real. Be real, be who you are and don’t do stuff that will hurt your rep any time in the future.

  • but if the costumes we wear are part of our job or our job I think not represent our personalities tq

  • Personally, #1 is my favourite! With #4 a close second, because I too agree with it. Listen to the leaders, learn from their mistakes, and make your own way, sort of parallel (#4b)
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Rel nofollow – Search Engine Optimisation Tutorial =-.

    • Rob

      Nice post.

      But the point about not hanging out with the cool kids does come across as really vague.

      Basically, as Andy stated, don’t be a sheep.

      However, we can learn something from everyone; even the cool kids. Just remember, even Bono had a mullet (the achy-breaky-bad-mistakey). We all have lapses in judgement from time to time but on balance our true self shines through.

      The overriding theme of the post: just use common sense.

      Sometimes, we all need to be reminded of this…thanks for the reminder!

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