Posted on January 10, 2012 in Social Media by Sandra Bienkowski
Watch every word you type in the social media world or face total ruin. If you read any article about your social media brand, you may become downright paranoid. To post or not to post is the question. “It will be out there, forever” people warn. “You could lose a job, a significant other, a friend, or your reputation,” others say. Um, really?
Sure, I think some common sense is in order when you are online. I don’t think it’s smart to trash your boss/company online (duh), tweet a photo of your bare chest if you are running for political office (and married), or post a Facebook photo of something you just stole. If you are dumb offline, it will probably show up online.
But if you are a relatively normal person, why not be real online? You know, kind of like you would be in person. Maybe some days you are joyful, some days pensive, and every now and then you need to vent. Go for it. I’d rather read your posts—and find you a lot more interesting—than people who act like every post should face the scrutiny of a job interview. If we are all going to spend so much time on Facebook, shouldn’t we be authentic?
Instead of worrying that your status updates are going to lead to total life devastation, maybe it would be beneficial to just ask: What is my Facebook brand? What do my posts consistently say about me? And based on that … Is there anything I need to change?
If any of the following Facebook brands sound like you, perhaps change is in order.
The Angry Rant. You write a rambling, obscure post—probably aimed directly at one person—but you share it with everyone. You use a passive medium (Facebook) to post your aggression online. If it isn’t rambling and obscure, it’s just downright angry. Your post may even triple dog dare others to … “Delete me if you don’t want to hear what I have to say or if you can’t handle who I really am.” Okay.
Share This to Your Status. Oh, please! Like most normal people, I am against cancer and multiple sclerosis, but don’t make me Share it on my wall to prove it. If you like advocacy, take it to the streets. Go help someone with cancer or donate to a cause. I’m against animal cruelty too, but I don’t need to share it to my page to prove it—even if you tempt me with “most of you won’t be courageous enough to share this.” Get over yourself already.
The Proselytizers. You dig God. Your church. Your religion. Your faith. Your Bible. I get it. We all get it. That’s fine. But if all your posts have Jesus in them, please give the rest of us a break and post about something else once in a while. I doubt God is online anyway.
Negative Nelly. You are always sick, injured, complaining or can’t wait until it is Friday. Or at least, that’s all your Facebook posts say. You want to call in sick, or you are happy the work day is almost over. Do you really want people to see your name and associate it with aches, ailments and overall negativity? Cheer up already, you are bringing the rest of us down.
General Weirdos. You poke. You invite others to play Farmville. You turn everything into sexual innuendo because you have the maturity level of a middle school student. You ask people out via Facebook, ignoring or disregarding their marital or relationship status. You post hate speech or your posts are just creepy. You drunk post. Weirdos lack self-awareness. You are out there and you probably don’t know who you are.
The Non-Posters. Call me crazy, but if you don’t tweet, why get a Twitter account? If you don’t post on Facebook, why get an account? Wait, I know. You want to keep up with what people are doing and saying without putting yourself out there. Non-posters are into the silent follow. But let’s remember, it’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. If you want to be a recluse, so be it. Just don’t be one online. Unless you like acting like a stalker.
Since I currently only have a personal Facebook page and not a business one, my posts are … stay with me … personal. Not Jerry Springer (crazy town) personal. My posts are about what I am doing or thinking personally—running, going out with the husband, sharing an interesting article, being snarky or having fun, venting about a writing project or attempting to make people laugh. You know, how I really am in person.
I hope your posts reflect who you are in person too. Here’s to your authentic brand—as long as you like what it says about you.