Relax! This won’t be an exercise in disinfecting your online presence to the point of sucking all the amusement out of it. The joy police aren’t beating down the door.
Please trust me when I say I’m the biggest fan of finding humour in pretty much every situation. It helps me to cope with life if I’m honest, that along with caffeinated drinks and Malcolm Tucker. Heck, sometimes I’ll laugh out loud just because I can, in the middle of the day with only the cat for company.
But we must recognise that there’s a time and a place for that risqué joke or the tirade about women drivers – and it isn’t online.
And given that social media is one of the first ‘go to’ places to get the lowdown on prospective employee or partners, the sooner we take stock of how we’re presenting ourselves the better.
Five myths you need to get over if you require a strong online presence
- “At least I’m on social media!” – Sure you are, you and 70% of people over the age of 18. It’s not a badge of honour to be online anymore; most people are doing it so you may as well do it right.
- “People need to take me as the find me” – If this is of absolute value to anyone then they need to find another way to build up their business, unless they’re channelling Juile Andrews 24/7 that is.
- “It’s an outlet to express myself that I don’t have in everyday life” – anyone who takes to social media to convey extreme or offensive views will doubtless find it tough to build a profitable or useful online presence. Really tough. That’s all I want to say on that.
- “I’m not being authentic if I don’t drop an F-bomb or two” – I’ve already voiced my opinion on being authentic; it’s a lazy excuse. We all have to up our game if we want to make headway and that means dropping the expletives. Unless you’re a globally-recognised superstar you won’t get away with it too often. Some people still find the F-word offensive when it’s used like punctuation.
- “Never being controversial is so ‘beige’…” – Being casually offensive will never score you as many points as maintaining integrity, honesty and fairness does. That’s anything but beige. And I’m a big fan of beige because it goes with anything and everything. You can’t say that about chartreuse (sadly).
But have no fear! There’s always creativity, innovation, support, and empathy you can fall back on to strengthen your online presence. You know, useful stuff like that.
Your online presence: it isn’t just for now
Will you still want to do what you’re doing now in ten years?
In terms of work, will you have changed or want to switch direction? Nobody knows the answer to that one.
It’s rare for anyone to look back at past indscretions and not inwardly squirm, even if it’s just a lilttle bit. That’s because we all change, evolve and rethink how we see things.
Nothing is permanent, but you can futureproof your reputation by maintaining an ongoing eye on your online behaviour.
Your future self will thank you for it.
Photo by Oscar Nilsson on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
Photo by Mike Fox on Unsplash