In the social media culture we live in, it important to think about your brand before joining any social media site. Don’t over complicate ‘branding,’ just think about how you want to be portrayed online. This is your digital identity. Two important questions to ask yourself are:
Why would I use this platform?
With Twitter, I like posting leadership quotes and getting inspirational quotes. It’s a networking platform so I’ve connected with other entrepreneurs, program managers, leaders and writers. I also use it for entertainment – watching the Twitter feed of #AmericanIdol during the show is hilarious. Facebook is the place I connect with family and friends that are too far away to see often; because the posts are longer, I also use it to practice my writing voice. With this in mind, I don’t have thousands of Facebook friends. I don’t network on Facebook, through my personal account. It’s a decision I’ve made. Because I’ve made conscious decisions regarding all my social media accounts, it’s kept me from wasting time on ridiculous political debates, embarrassing posts venting about work or connecting with people that I don’t know.
How much time am I going to commit?
If you don’t decide the time, you’ll waste endless hours surfing sites. Outside of my blog, I don’t do more than an hour a day – total. It may be 4, 15 minutes blocks through-out the day.
From these two questions, you can form a framework to begin engaging in social media. As you learn each platform, how and why you use it can change. I did a blog post on weather or not to blog. You can read that here.
My prediction, in a few years good digital citizenship will become important factor in hiring decisions. A great book to read is “lol…OMG” by Matt Ivestor. He details some of the biggest mistakes college students have made online when they thought they were just having fun.
I do recommend getting online and building your digital identity. Not being online may have employers wondering why. Even worse, your friends can be posting pictures and comments about you without you knowing it. In a workshop I held, I had everyone Google their name. One participant discovered that he had the same name as a recently convicted rapist! Others who didn’t think they would find anything found comments they made on Yelp or Amazon through reviews. Some of those comments were poorly written (writing in anger is never good) and painted a picture that was not representative of who they were. It’s really hard to NOT have a digital identity, so don’t kid yourself, get online and manage it.