I love the East Central Indiana Social Media Group, and in a way, this is a shameless plug. What I love about the group are the conversations that are built around the subject matter. The last two months have inspired my thoughts today because of two key statements:
There is a difference between transparency and authenticity. In the end, you need to be authentic. That’s who you are. – Jaime Faulkner
If you can’t be who you are on social media then be a better person. – Kristen Bitzegaio
Frankly, Kristen’s comments brought on the laughs because of when and how it was said, but Jaime’s was a heartfelt comment because a member shared when she shared content to Facebook she was worried she’d lose friends and connections because they would hide or unfollow her. Jaime’s comments went on to say some of her favorite people are more authentic than transparent on social media. And that’s okay.
Be authentic. Be you. Be true.
When creating your personal brand and persona the most important element is truth. There is a time and place for an alter ego — super heroes, spies, video games, or a place for anonymity. And all of those sound more exciting than creating your professional persona online. But if you’re crafting your personal brand for the people you’re engaging online, and in many times offline, then you need to start by being authentic.
This doesn’t mean if you’re a bit of an ass, be an ass. See “be a better person.” This really means your friends and colleagues you see and talk to every day know who you are already. Don’t be different online. They like you for you. Be that version of you.
What about your professional persona
A suggestion from the last round table at the end of the July event was look at your usage of social media networks and the connections you make in each.
For example, my LinkedIn usage is very much about my business and my interests in my career. I share things that are happening in Muncie and try to cheer on others’ accomplishments along the way.
Facebook and Instagram are more for my personal connections. I don’t have too many connections in which I haven’t met the person once. It’s also my official unofficial CrossFit sounding board. If you like me in person, or don’t, you’ll probably have the same reaction on Facebook. And that’s okay for me.
Twitter or my “flash in a pan” thoughts or sharing tool. I share cool things that are interesting to me or a random thought that made me go “hmmmm.”
You need to find what’s best for you and embrace it. Try to avoid popularity contests and focus on what’s more important: authentic human interaction even if it’s behind the soft, electric glow in front of you even as you read this.
Do you battle with authenticity and transparency online? Please share and let’s talk about it. I like talking.