I have been thinking a lot about on-line representation recently. Not that I am looking for an Internet lawyer, but rather, how we present ourselves to the public via our new media tools: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, etc…
Depending on how you use these tools, it can be very easy to have one consistent “face”, or aspect of your personality showing at all times. If your interest in these sites is primarily a business one, than you will undoubtedly be presenting a very business-like demeanor to the public in all of these locations. This will be different depending on the specifics of your business, your clients, your target market and how you attract customers, but I don’t imagine many people will post drunken pictures of themselves on Facebook if the profile is intended to be a business one.
This seems obvious, but what I am thinking about are the nuances; how are you perceived when users are paying attention to the small details. What happens when a user connects the dots, when they look at your different on-line spaces. Do you present yourself the same way on Facebook that you do on Twitter? Is your MySpace page more relaxed, have you added a few tracks from your favorite band there? Do you use Twitter to gripe and complain a lot, or do you get into flame wars on boards using your name that anyone can check out?
I think what I am mostly curious about is this; if someone met me in real life, would I be the me they were expecting me to be? Although I do not run a business, as a writer and a podcaster (more details on that coming soon!) I try to use these tools to make connections with readers and listeners. I try to help people where I can, however I can. Is that the me that comes through? What about things like this:
Should I be dissing a belief system that some people hold dear? Should I be admitting to the world that I made such a foolish error? Should I call myself a dumbass in a public forum?
Have you considered the face that you present to the world with your media tools? How do you aviod the pitfalls of saying or doing something that could turn off a potential client, listener, reader, or friend?