Remember my past posts about Twitter, A Twitter Social Contract and They’re Following Me! (More on Twitter)? I mentioned in those posts that communities will reach a certain size then bifurcations start occurring in those communities. Different needs start to express themselves.
I’m at 87 followers as I write this. Every once in a while I go through the list to satisfy my paranoia.
By the way, do you know what the official definition of paranoia is? Paranoia is when you can’t understand why there wouldn’t be someone waiting for you behind that tree.
I love that.
I recognize some of the people following me and not some others. I read through their little bios and can come up with some guesses as to why they’re following me. Indications are that bifurcations will start occuring soon. I’m guessing these bifurcations will take the form of voting with your feet more than anything else. I doubt I’ll lose followers. I work to keep all Twitterites happy with my BlogWatch, ResearchWatch, PaperWatch, ResponseWatch and similar intros to my twits.
But one thing I am intrigued by is the increase in people’s concerns re their online visibility (Personal Branding, see links below) versus their privacy. Let me share five things with you that I do. Maybe they’ll work for you, too.
1) Do unto others as if they were you.
This, I admit, is #1 in the NextStage Principles. In the online world as in the offline world, I ask permission to quote people (even when it’s a public statement they’ve made), I let people know ahead of time when I’m going to reference them online, and more often than not I’ll ask for their buy-in before going public with something. I like it when people do these things for me, therefore I do them for others. It pays off. People know I respect them and they tend to return that kindness (and thank you for so doing). The only exception to this isn’t really an exception. If I’m republishing something I got permission to publish previously, I let it stand.
2) Only put in public profiles what you want others to know about you.
The fact that I have to tell people to do this shocks me, truth be told. I’m sorry to tell you this…there are unhappy, psychologically unhealthy people out there. And all of them have internet access. And they’re extremely interested in you (see how that paranoia works?).
Seriously, you may want to know everything about everybody but do you want everybody to know everything about you? My philosophy is a simple one; I’m not that important. Oddly enough, that philosophy is a strength — people know I’m approachable, especially in the fields where others consider me an “expert”. And don’t confuse “I’m not that important” with “I don’t market myself”. The two are very different. If you’re not sure about this call or write me. I’m approachable, remember?
3) Only link/friend/share/swap/… with people you know you know.
I get lots of requests from LinkedIn, FaceBook, Ning, Naymz, take your pick to connect with people. I always graciously respond with “Forgive my poor memory. We know each other how?” Most never get back to me. Some respond with “You just seem so neat/cute/smart/masculine/handsome/…” Okay, maybe not all of those, but some. The ones that jog the right memories or demonstrate something more than sycophantic interest get the nod, the others don’t. Simple as that.
4) Check for yourself on Flickr, YouTube, …
Make sure you approve of all your public images out there. Of course, the first part of this is “Don’t do something stupid in front of a camera.”
5) Edit your status wisely
This goes back to my use of BlogWatch, ResponseWatch and the like. My time is quite precious to me and people who twit, update, email, whatever with worthless (to me) information get cut off quickly. I know from people who correspond with me that my alerts/updates/messages get through because I don’t send such messages unless I believe recipients will find value in them.
So five simple steps for having an online presence that doesn’t override your offline privacy:
- Do unto others as if they were you.
- Only put in public profiles what you want others to know about you.
- Only link/friend/share/swap/… people you know you know.
- Check for yourself on Flickr, YouTube, … and edit accordingly.
- Edit your status wisely.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
- What Hannibal Lecter and the Dalai Lama can teach us about branding
- TS Eliot, Ezekiel, Beehives and Mighty Mouse – Beehive the Icebox, There’s a Sheet of Glass
- Eric Mattson on Personal Online Marketing & Branding
Sign up for The NextStage Irregular, our very irregular, definitely frequency-wise and probably topic-wise newsletter.
You can follow me and my research on Twitter. I don’t twit often but when I do, it’s with gusto!
Have you read my latest book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History? It’s a whoppin’ good read.