What does your online persona say about you? Are people often surprised when they meet you in person? Do you act differently online and offline?
After working in social media for six years, I’ve only met a handful of people in real life after interacting with them online. There’s no need to meet with clients and potential clients in person in today’s virtual world, the majority of my clients are in different states and provinces! Most people think I’m an extrovert from my online interactions, but I’m actually an introvert. I love speaking at conferences and networking when it comes to business, but I’m definitely a hermit when it comes to real life. My online profiles do not 100% accurately represent the real me – is this important? My answer is yes.
I’ve been using social media since the “Hi5” and “Myspace” days which means i’ve basically “grown up” online. How I use social media today (business) is vastly different than before (personal). Have my status updates matured with me? Not always.
Why Your Online Persona Should Reflect The Offline You
Being vulnerable online makes you more “approachable” offline. Most people want to portray their “ideal self” vs. their “real self” via social media, but which “self” is more approachable? Who is more relatable?
Now that we’re talking about “self”, let’s discuss “selfies”. When is it okay to post selfies? Is it okay to post selfies? I like Alli Worthington’s answer:
Selfies are like establishing shots in a movie. When done right – it adds context, gives the viewer a chance to see the person behind the camera. When done too often, seems like a mess with no “story” to it. The best people online use photos to establish a storyboard for their life.
When deciding to post a selfie or not, check out Alli’s handy flowchart. Posting too many selfies can be seen as immature and/or egotistical. Would you do business with a person displaying those traits? Probably not. If you’re using social media for business reasons, it’s probably best to keep the “selfies” at bay. Most of us are forgiving when it comes to social media posts, but not everyone. Also, what kind of people do you want to attract offline? What kind of people have you attracted in the past?
The main goal of using social media for business is to “take the conversation offline”. It’s easier to maintain the “real you” during that lunch meeting or phone call.
What do you think about online and offline personas?