Your audience is the entire world, so show your entire self

January 20, 2010 at 8:37 AM 6 comments

Last week on the #u30pro Twitter chat, I remember someone mentioning that our audience in now global, and that really struck me. (SIDE NOTE: Does anyone remember who that was?)

We were talking about how much of yourself you should share online, and whether it’s appropriate to share facts about your personal life as well as professional when blogging or Tweeting. And we were all pretty much in agreement that there was a balance that needed to be struck between professional and personal.

And then someone said that it was silly to not show your whole self because your audience is essentially the whole world. In a time when anyone can use Google or Twitter or Facebook to find you and your thoughts, it seems silly not to share your whole self.

I would never argue that you need to give out all of your information, I still urge you to be safe online. I do, however, urge you to let your entire personality shine through in your online interactions. More and more people are making important connections online, but how strong will those connections be if they’re based only on superficial or professional information?

My closest friends from work and other places are those that I know way more about than just their professional acumen. And it’s these outside connections and personal touches that make me think of them first when a new opportunity arises. I am way more likely to recommend a person or share a job opening with someone who I know as a friend and not just a colleague.

If that does not convince you, think about this: when you work in an office, you don’t stick to shop-talk all day long, right? You talk about your family and weekend plans with those who sit near you, and you develop personal relationships along with work relationships. And which of your coworkers are you more likely to recommend? The ones you have only had professional experience with? Or those who you know inside and out?

If you truly intend to make strong and meaningful connections online and use social media as a networking tool, it may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important to let your entire personality show through all of your interactions.

What do you think? Is it wise to hide part of who you are online? Do you think it’s best to dive in and show your whole self? Share your thoughts!


Entry filed under: Branding, Life as an AAE, Social Media, Twitter. Tags: , , , .

How do you measure personal success? DR. WHAW? – January 19, 2010

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Daniel Prager  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I love this post. My favorite part about social media “networking” is that it is actually relationship building.

    You can’t build relationships or “network” without sharing your personality.

    That being said, there is also the potential to over-share, or share aspects of your personality that may turn off professional employers. Just be smart. You can share the things about yourself personally and professional that make you special without being offensive.

    When it comes to privacy, in my opinion,we will eventually get to a point where sharing will be so common, that the sheer amount of information will allow individuals to “hide”. This may be a little far off, but at this point, 33% of internet users already update their status daily. So who knows what will happen in the near future.

    I think folks like you and I say that social media is about relationship building constantly. Showing your “whole” self, or at the very least your idealized self, is necessary for forming any kind of connection online.

    Sorry that I rambled a bit. Guess I’m a bit more passionate about this topic than I thought 🙂

    • 2. Rebecca Denison  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

      I loved the ramble! Ramble on, my friend!

      I like that you say you do have to be smart, but I think it’s like that when you meet people IRL, too. I guess my point was not to try to have an “online self” that is much more masked that you would be to someone you met at a networking event. I show as much online as I do to coworkers and folks I meet at Tweetups. And I think that’s just the right amount.

      I’m glad you made that distinction, though!

  • 3. Tim Jahn  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    I wholeheartedly agree with you here, Rebecca. And this is where I think people disconnect from each other in this debate. You can separate professional and personal if you wish, and still inject your personality into your communication.

    I hate to use cliches, but look at Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s not the only guy talking about wine out there. He is one that is letting his personality shine though, and that’s a big reason why people watch. Heck, I STILL haven’t found a wine I like, don’t drink wine, and yet I still tune into his show because he’s just fun to watch.

    • 4. Tim Jahn  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:44 PM

      So I tried to quote a part of your post using the HTML code allowed and I screwed up 🙂 Here’s the part of the post I was referring to:

      “I do, however, urge you to let your entire personality shine through in your online interactions.”

    • 5. Rebecca Denison  |  January 21, 2010 at 7:29 AM

      You’re definitely right, and I don’t think Gary Vaynerchuk is a cliche is any sense of the word. That’s a really good example, actually!

      I like that you point out that you don’t have to show personal and professional because it’s true. Personally, I choose to show a bit of both, but I can understand why some people choose not to. And I bet those are the same people who are not personal in the workplace, as well. As long as there is a distinct voice behind your online conversations, I think you’re doing it right.

  • 6. just stop faking it already  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    […] Denison wrote a fantastic post this week about this very topic. She talked about the importance of being genuine  and letting […]


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