Social Media Image Management

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I’ve made somewhat of a lucrative career making fun of self proclaimed experts in our industry who only seem to excel at not going to work and not being able to keep a job. Perhaps the two are connected somehow? It’s my perception and I can back it up with various factoids that are among a wide array of general characteristics to the extent that many people seem to recognize themselves in.. somewhat. So yes, if you read Vladville posts and it strikes close to home then I am not just addressing generalizations, I am writing about you. You and nobody else but you.

meangirlsThe trouble with a relatively small and highly connected community is that we see the connections among people and, right or wrong, tend to base our opinions based on brief glimpses of what we see scroll by on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Getting to know someone truly takes time because most social encounters are in a business framing – conferences, mixers, barcamps, sponsored parties and so on.

Everyone is there to work. And like it or not, you have a public image that is built by what people perceive of you with a limited set of images, Facebook updates, tweets and quick interactions.

Consequently, my attitude towards what people thought of me seemed irrelevant. I don’t care because this isn’t me, this is my work image. I even have a work Facebook account with random amount of filth just to keep it entertaining.

Truth is, whether you respect the people who are forming an impression of you or not, if that impression is negative you have to make an attempt to turn it into a positive one.

Sucks, right? Well, it’s tough being popular. Even if it’s a matter of popularity in a small industry or in a small subset of it.

The point of reference doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who thinks you are stupid, fat, drunk, useless, unemployable, womanizer, whore, idiot – it matters that people look at the content you put up on the Internet and they form an impression of you based on that content. If that is the wrong impression, or the one you don’t like, you change it. Again, the reference doesn’t matter because these aren’t opinions being formed on a thorough research and personality quizes – people see one or two things about you and assume that it’s you. Even if people you don’t care about are forming this opinion of you without knowing you it stands to reason that the people that you do care about might form a similar opinion.

If you are one dimensional it’s easy to stereotype you into something negative.

So go ahead, flood your social media with tons of irrelevant stuff. Because the only thing better than inadvertently offending someone is ridiculously offending everyone to the point that it’s seen as a joke and keeps them guessing. Then before they judge you they at least have to take a moment to get to know you.

It’s that simple.


P.S. Terrible, terrible, horrific advice given by a guy who will never have to go look for a job. If you think you’ll be seeking employment some day make sure your name either doesn’t exist in a Google/image search or you change your name to John Smith so your future employer will never be able to illegally profile and disqualify you for employment. Or specifically qualify you based on some horrible thing you do in your spare time which would be even more concerning.