I don’t know about you, but I tend to believe that my personal social media presence can appeal to people of all types. I keep my content clean, tone upbeat and positive throughout my individual streams. To the general public one could say I do everything the right way. If you were to look at my twitter or instagram the set up looks professional with well-organized pictures and themes. I engage with my followers and try to remain accessible in a world where a lot of the people we used to look up to are not a message away. But this false sense of security can get people into a bind over time. When you begin to think that what you post is the only message you are conveying to your followers you can fall into a bad trap.
When I was younger I had several mentors in my life that used the old adage by Aristotle, “We are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” A bad habit that we all can fall victim of is following, engaging or endorsing individuals or organizations whose message would look negatively upon us. That long Webster’s dictionary definition shortened is “If you’re tweeting at, double tapping, or conversing with entities who have a bad image that image can be linked to who you are.” Focusing on twitter, all your followers are able to see your tweets, retweets, quote tweets and favorites. Each of those possibilities could negatively affect your public image if the originator of the message is not in accordance with what you seek to be seen as.
I remember when I was trying to figure out how to use twitter back in 2009 when I first got my twitter handle. We laugh at older individuals these days or like the main character in the movie “Chef”, Carl played by Jon Faveau, we completely embarrass ourselves thinking its private messaging. There needs to be a big disclaimer when we sign up for twitter in bold print “YOU ARE NOW PUBLIC!” As soon as we begin we are allowing other people into our interests, conversations and lives. Because of this fact we need to operate within a simple 3-step framework.
- Since this is a public forum, act as if what you said came across the Sports Center headline. Obviously most of us will never reach that pinnacle, but operating within the guideline that I will not post or share anything that could ruin the reputation I’ve worked hard to obtain. The simplest interaction with a disgruntled fan after a bad loss or discussing personal information could be negative for your image. Every tweet is a press conference. Keep your composure and delivery concise.
- Proof your messages. Makes sure you didn’t accidently say something incorrectly or type something inappropriate. Even if you realize you made a mistake five minutes after you post a tweet and take it down followers can screenshot your mistake and your handle is forever attached to what was an accident.
- Finally, the goal of your message. No matter what you think your tweet or post will accomplish you have to think about all the possibilities. Not everyone is going to agree with what you say. You have to keep yourself out of trouble by making sure what you’re saying bolsters who you are and positively resounds over your followers. It’s better to tweet positively than to complain publically.
We live in a society where we have to remain “on the grid.” We are no longer islands detached from what the rest of the world is doing. Social media has become a billion dollar industry and because of that people make a big deal out of what is put out there. Putting limitations and guide rails on ourselves does not contain us, but gives us freedom within our sphere of influence. What we put out there has no effect on the outcome of sporting events, but what we put out there can keep us from participating.
Thanks for listening,