I know I can sometimes take myself too seriously. How about you? Yet, I actually do make an effort to “put myself out there,” on social media, by showing the fun parts of who I am. What about you? Do you put yourself out there? Are you willing to share who you are as a person? To show some of what you enjoy in life?
Let me explain why I ask.
The other day, I posted a LinkedIn update to a Chris Brogan post, leading with, “If you take yourself seriously, this is not for you. But it probably should be.” Part of the reason I said that was my sense that, as a social media platform for business people, this update might not fit LinkedIn.
Since posting it, I’ve been thinking about what made me think people take themselves so seriously. Part of it, is the nature of LinkedIn as professional platform. It’s where people present who they are as a business people. Yet, I also realized that besides sharing their experience and a summary of what they do, there was something else contributing to my sense of their seriousness. Then it hit me. I realized it came from their “passion” statements.
By passion statements, I mean the way people prop up their image by saying what floats their professional boat. You know, statements like, “I am passionate about…
- Helping my clients get that loan…
- Empowering others to have their say…
- Achieving growth for businesses…
- Building customer engagement.”
When I see these statements in profiles, I often think, “But what are you silly about?” No, seriously!
Now, I’ll concede LinkedIn is probably not the place to start displaying your silly side. Yet, I firmly believe that success, today, requires an ability to use new tools that bridge time and distance and support creating valuable content. And I also believe that “playing” on some of the outlier social media platforms, can provide valuable learning and growth that can support your career development.
Certainly, part of the benefit is in simply learning to use new tools, which can enhance your confidence. But also, there is the challenge to be creative in producing content – even silly content – that’s enjoyable for you and others. Yet, I think even more important is the social learning that comes from challenging you to expand your engagement repertoire. For example,
- What do you say to a 16-year-old ballerina from Bangkok who starts following you and commenting on your Instagram posts?
- What might be the response if you actually post a thank you note in Japanese?
- Should you even mention the fabulous nails of a young professional during a Google+ Hangout on digital strategies?
- How do you know when it’s time to suggest connecting on other social platforms?
These situations step outside the kind of responses you would make as a business person. Increasingly, we each need to have an ability to respond as a human person. [Tweetable] And as business becomes more global, more immediate, and more human, I believe you’re going to need expand your repertoire.
At least that’s what I think. And I’m not just being silly.
What do you think about putting yourself out there? How are you doing it already? If you want to share, I’d love to know. Just leave a comment.