Putting Yourself “Out There”

Social MediaI 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.

How?

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.

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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.

Comments

    • says

      Hey, Kimberly!! Thanks for your comment!! Well, I’m happy to hear that my post was well timed!! Especially if you’re taking yourself *way* too seriously!! Hope you’re over that now!! :) Have an awesome week ahead!!

  1. says

    I ALWAYS leave myself out there. LOL Especially on Vine or Instagram. Not so much on G+, though. I probably would if G+ would approve an API and let me connect all that crap, but since they are hard-headed, I guess I’ll keep my biz side on G+ :) Good post, Walter!

  2. says

    I think it’s important to show different sides of ourselves online too, Walter. It’s why I have a personal blog as well as a more business orientated one. On the business site it’s a little more serious and on my personal one I can talk about writing blog posts in my pants!

  3. says

    Thanks for great comment, Tania!!

    Yes, I know you do – especially on Vine and Instagram!! And what great places to do that!! I think we all need to express our creativity….well, okay, our wild and crazy sides…

    Let’s us learn and grow, and actually can make us better as human/business people!! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for terrific comment, Ian!!

    It really is true!! I think to only be seen as serious and business like online, is actually risky – especially, if we want to be approachable and build relationships.

    As a personal branding guy, I’ve always felt we need a way to present more of who we are. Being creative – and yes, even a bit silly – is a great way to show we’re human and accessible.

    And I think “outlier” social media sites, as Chris Brogan has dubbed them are great places to play, learn, and grow!!

  5. says

    Walter, loved this post because I find it to be so true. In my blogs, my personal readers have told me that the blogs they like the most are the ones with the most humor. So, I was not surprised that my Bikini Wax blog got a lot of attention. Is that the kind of “putting yourself out there” that we’re talking about? Might be a little “too much out there!” :-)

    Denise Acampa

  6. says

    Hi Denise!! I’m really happy you loved this post!!

    Personally, it was as long time in the works. I had debated publishing my thinking on this. Then, as if the planets aligned, I read an “I’m passionate about” LinkedIn profile a few days after Chris Brogan published, a post on “outlier” social media. Suddenly, something clicked, so here we are!!

    I think we have lots of options for putting ourselves out there…!! Whether its via blogging about an…ahem…interesting and informative topic…interacting with diverse people on Instagram, or simply posting silly Vines!! The point is, I think when people take themselves too seriously, they really close out opportunities to be more accessible, more fun, and more human…!!

    Thanks, again!!

  7. says

    I love this concept! So often, it feels like we are “told” we have to present that we are always “upbeat and happy,” but this is a different twist on that, and the result, hopefully, is giving others that moment of happiness and feeling of connection.

    • says

      Thanks, Ceejae!! I’m happy that you enjoyed this post!

      Yes, so many people come to believe (often via what they see from other people around them), that they “should” present in a certain way. What they don’t realize is putting on that face can put up a barrier to genuine conversation.

      Of course, it takes curiosity and a willingness to put aside looking good long enough to ask a question that allows someone else to shine. And yes, it does promote happiness and connection!!

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