Managing the Digital Persona!

FC Barcelona signed a player (Sergi Guardiola) for their B team earlier this week and then released/ sacked him within few hours because of few offensive tweets posted by the player about the club and Catalonia. Reportedly, one of those tweet was posted a month back (during a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona in November 2015) while others were as old as from 2013.

Now that's the age we are heading toward - or, rather we are already in. Social activities are not fun and light-weight any more. These are becoming decision making drivers more than ever before. Be it marketers gaining useful insights about you, or employers evaluating candidates credentials, or government/ non-government agencies are probing into your privacy - you are accountable for each of your clicks.

Have you ever wondered why tariff of same holiday package is different on different devices (with different IP)? How the prices go up every time you repeat the search? Have you ever noticed how you are bombarded with advertisements of a particular product which you looked up in an e-commerce portal week back? These are just few simple examples how cookies and related analytical tools are looking into all your online activities - accept it or go off the world-wide-web.

You may recall how you had looked up candidates' linked-in profiles before entering into recent interview conversations. May be you looked up customers or stakeholders profiles before your first meeting with them. Social mediums are empowering us to have valuable insights about individual or institution and prepare accordingly before the real action. Isn't it awesome? Isn't it making us more comfortable and confident for the given situation in advance?

Indeed, it is! But on the other end - if we are not careful and focused with our online/ social presence, it may turn our success into a failure. Like the case I mentioned in opening about that football player, our employers may (or, should I say 'must') be looking into our social profiles & activities and making decisions hugely influenced through gained insights. Good or bad - our activities (however older and less contextual those are) may have an impact on our present and future.

I heard about cases where IT professional was stripped off the job offer due to (significant) mismatch between submitted resume and social job profiles. In another case, employee took time off due to personal exigency and his manager communicated the same with customer. Next thing: customer was commenting on a holiday snap uploaded by the employee and sharing a piece of his mind with that manager. Without getting into judgement, our presence on public forums can't be undermined any longer.

And, here is the trickier part! If we want to nullify our social presence, it may not help the case either. Many employers, now a days, are looking for credentials like publications made over social channels, contributions in open forums, technical contribution to open source projects and so on. I can remember a case where potential employer allowed the candidate additional time to build social credentials (in terms of contribution in forums, open source projects and all) even after successful completion of all interview rounds. That's the future!
Now the big question is: with already so much to take care of, how do we manage our social presence in right way? What do we do to ensure that our social life is positively influencing our present and future? Well, I can't think of a shortcut here. But there are few easy basics we can probably start with.
  • Being humble in social presence - never get involved in online bullying and more importantly, don't get provoked either. 
  • Express thoughts, observations and ideas; but never engage abusive words/ phrases. 
  • Add a pause and be thoughtful while posting on public mediums - don't get carried away by trending topics. 
  • Identify favored/ best suited/ prioritized channels and focus only on the identified ones.
  • Put efforts in being consistent across platforms - being different face on different channels does not help. Leverage technology wherever possible to synchronize your actions across channels. E.g. your posts on Linked-in or Twitter can be posted on Facebook automatically real time.
  • Categorize engagements over social mediums - e.g. don't mix-up personal activities with professional ones. Keep in mind that brand presence and individual presence should have different perspective and different strategy.
  • Understand visibility settings (who can see your post, tweet, comment) of the given platform convincingly. For example, Twitter is all public - your tweet can be essentially accessed by whole web. On other hand, Facebook or Google+ have different layers: like share with friends, visible with friend of friends etc.
  • Be aware of the fact that though platforms like Facebook or Google+ empower you with different security layer/ settings - basic information about your profile like your profile picture (which you can control too) are accessible to public. Also, all social platforms keep changing their policies, features etc. quite frequently for different reasons.
  • Understand your current employer policies and guidelines around social media usage.
  • Consider your social persona a long term one and be convinced how you are being watched by humans as well as robots.
Even after all the efforts, some of your activities may not be liked by an institution or other. I assume that is something you got to accept. I don't believe in suppressing individual thoughts, opinions and ideas just because it can't make everybody happy. But being logical, thoughtful, non-personal can surely help. And, who knows - this challenge can open up a new business avenue where one provides professional services to manage our individual social images. Future is here!

1 comment:

  1. The article is one step forward towards the new era of communication beckoning for all of us.I have no doubt moving ahead more and more evaluation of social image will take central stage of our career in all domains.Gone are the days of typical phd credentials which is only understood by certain privileged groups.Social media image will start to carry more weight age.


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