Find your online voice

When I first looked into developing my online personal brand I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing or where to begin. After reading a few articles with their own tips and words of advice the fog is starting to clear a bit I realised I was approaching things all wrong. Some of the articles I read said I should keep my online persona and my actual persona separate, maybe this works for some people but not for me. I have a varied set of interests and that I should focus on one topic and work on building an audience around that subject felt like I wasn’t giving a clear picture of the type of I am by neglecting my other interests such as baking and reading. The problem with this approach is I can’t give every topic the full attention it deserves, at the moment my Twitter feed is full of posts relating to mental health, social media, technology with the odd post about baking and exercise adding the personal touch showing that I do have a life and interests that may attract a new group of people who also bake and have an interest in robots being developed to mimic human traits.

I need to find a happy middle ground that worked for me, a mixture of posts that Once I had worked out that in order for me to be comfortable posting online and building up a network I needed to be more ‘human’, more myself. Remain professional but understand the people I engage with online and whose posts I share haven’t met me in person, they don’t know my personality all of which I need to convey through an online post.

This new approach seems to be working with Twitter and I’m trying to utilise some of the resources on there to help my bother find a job by sharing his digital artwork. His Asperger’s does hinder him in some ways, new people can unnerve him but don’t feel sorry for him as his has a lot of positive traits that any employer would be lucky to have him once both parties get past the initial obstacles. LinkedIn I’ll keep it more professional for now until I find a voice for this network that I am comfortable with, this is still a work in progress.

I know I have been lax in posting on this blog, but on here I have always tried to be myself. Blogging is the one place where I have written about my interests, things that have caught my attention in the news to work related pieces. I probably should have put more thought into the type of image I wanted my blog to have or what personality I wanted it to have, but over thinking all this would just stress me out instead of having fun with it. Which I think I do, I’ve written about random people fly tipping to the lack of forks in the work kitchen, I have also been serious when writing work related articles.

If you want to know about creating an online personal brand than there are lots of articles out there to help you, some will get straight to the point others will be very long winded that you will lose interest within the first paragraph. They will have one thing in common, be you; be genuine, be real. This is your selling point, talk about the things that interest you, make you laugh, make you cry, share your knowledge and experiences but don’t be fake. You can’t please all the people all the time but the first person you might as well please is yourself the rest will eventually fall into place. For some an online persona is about building an audience for their brand for others it is a therapeutic experience. You can think about how you want network, market yourself and your blog once you have found your online voice. Once you achieve that there will be no stopping you.

Social branding: building my online personality

Not so long ago I wrote a blog called ‘ Social branding; who am I? Since then I have been working on creating and developing my online personality by sharing information, images that interest me and may possibly interest others. Along the way I’m making a few discoveries about myself, realising I know a bit more about digital marketing than I thought which is a boost for my self confidence. I’ve been working on my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles with a mixed bag of success, I’ll go into more detail below.

Twitter

I’m not embarrassed to say that in the past I wasn’t a Twitter person, since using it for work and attending some communication conferences I have got an insight to how I could effectively use this social network without sharing every aspect of life, nothing wrong in being selective.

  • Less is definitely more
  • Don’t go nuts with the hashtags
  • Be genuine and not so self centered.
  • Put some thought into the content I’m sharing, is it something my followers would be interested in.
  •  Don’t forget to have fun with it.
All sounds simple enough when you think about it
  • Put some effort into building your online persona,
  • Look for articles on your topic of interest
  • Like and share other people’s posts
  • Write and share your own words of wisdom, this part I sometimes struggle with, but something I am slowly but surely getting to grips with.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t

I’ll admit that I don’t always know what I’m doing, there is a lot of information online some of it can be conflicting and down right confusing. Eventually I will have a much more structured approach  but at the moment the mixture of structure and ‘winging it’ is paying off.

My number followers are increasing which is good though the numbers do tend to fluctuate.

Followers April-May

I noticed in one day my number of followers had fallen by 10, but by the end of the day I had regained the number of followers originally lost. As you can see I have been posting a lot of message related to technology. It’s linked to my new found interest of artificial intelligence, it’s something that both worries and fascinates me at the same time.

LinkedIn

I use this social network differently to Twitter. With Twitter I feel I have more freedom to post a mixture of posts that show my different interests from a digital communications point of view to baking and about the exercise classes I attend. LinkedIn has a more professional air and not really a place to post how I profusely glowed during a weekly Zumba class.

LinkedIn is a work in progress

I have updated my profile, even went as far as filling in the summary section about myself. If I keep going in the direction that I am it is only a matter of time that I too will be confidently sharing my own words of wisdom. No I just need to be a bit more active and get involved, comment on posts and join some of the groups.

The one things I have learnt and I would say is one of the most important pieces of advice given on this journey is that no matter what your topic of interest is, it is important to find your own voice, be yourself. Just because you can’t be seen doesn’t mean your followers won’t be able to see through the fakeness.

What I’ve learnt about creating online content so far

I’m not a social butterfly, I don’t thrive in a room full of strangers with ease. I am an introvert until I feel comfortable enough to allow my extrovert side to make an appearance. People who know me well enough may find this all hard to believe as they tend to worry when I am quiet! So you can imagine my own surprise that of all the jobs and potential career paths I could have fallen into and have a genuine eagerness to learn more about and some degree of success in is digital communications.

My current employment is in external communications; maintaining the company’s website and social media pages. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to explore the world of video, at the moment I have only dabbled in stop motion animation but will be using YouTube editing facilities in the near future. I have been to conferences to increase my understanding and learn from experts who were once in the same position as me; wondering where to start with a social media campaign, what content to share with the world, how to engage with people to create a strong following. Then there is the topic of branding, both for business and personal, that’s right people branding is not reserved just for businesses. Just by how I present myself online through the content I share, posts I comment on even this blog are all part of my brand.

Personal Brand

For the first time I took part (a little bit) on a Twitter chat hosted by Hootsuite called #HootChat. I was a bit apprehensive at first as many of the people also taking part sounded experienced and knew what they were talking about and knew each other, but we all have to start somewhere so in I jumped with my digital arm bands.

The questions put forward for discussion revolved around branding;

  • Do you have a brand?
  • How would you describe your brand?
  • How do you maintain your brand?

This got me thinking about myself and how would I answer these questions, in short the answer is I don’t know, I’m still figuring this out. What I have learnt so far is that I need to think about what is my online persona, is there something in particular I want to be known for?

Original tweet posted my Sarah Picard

Persona Tweet

I am sharing a lot of things around social media, mental health, blogging and artificial intelligence; this is a topic that has caught my eye lately. I want to try and remain a personable by sharing my interests and generally things that happen in my world.

MyTweet

Content is king

Whilst at the Engaging Digital Conference piece of advice given was when generating content think of it as storytelling. Engage, depending on the topic and your personality even entertain your followers through the power of your words. You want your content to encourage people to comment, share and like your posts.

Be selective, just because you have a lot to say doesn’t mean it needs to be said all at once, one of the pieces of advice given at the #DigCommsConf by speaker Oli Lewington was to avoid ‘blasting people with your hose of content’, you want people to come back!

Hashtags are handy but you don’t want them to distract from your message. At the conference during her talk speaker Joanna Goodwin noted that from her experience less hashtags used is more.

Twitter_Hashtag

Try not to be a complete narcissist and think just because you wrote an excellent article that people will just gravitate towards you. Get involved, share other people’s posts, comment, like etc. I manage to share and like other people’s posts but haven’t been very vocal when it comes to commenting. This is something I will work on but the fact I’m thinking about my personal brand and being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn is a step in the right direction.

Video

‘Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014, says technology giant Cisco. ‘

I still want to try my hand at creating and using more video in my posts. Video is a great way to tell a story and visually engages followers. I’m still a newbie and have been somewhat lazy in developing those skills myself, until then I will happily share other peoples videos.

Social side of the NHS

Like it or love it social media is all around us. It has changed the way we engage and communicate with our peers, market our businesses and market ourselves. , every industry utilises social media to their advantage whether it is networking, marketing, selling; it has advanced the way a company publicises itself even the NHS.

When you think of social media you wouldn’t necessarily think how the NHS would be able to effectively use social media to their advantage, how will they engage, what content will they share, where will this content come from? To answer some of these questions and help NHS Trusts create a successful social media presence NHS Employers launched a helpful social media toolkit to help trust’s create their own social media policy and to have clear social media objectives in place.

 ‘Social media allows local NHS and care providers to connect and engage directly with thousands of people and organisations, be seen to understand and take on board their viewpoints and involve them in local solutions.’ – The Guardian; How NHS organisations should use social media

Social media doesn’t have to this big scary monster, there are people who will take the opportunity to public vilify the NHS but for every negative comment there are many positive ones. Others may use these networks to get the attention of the health trust because they don’t feel they are getting the correct treatment, in these situations it is important to remain professional especially if the messages are public, how you respond and handle the situation will be seen by a lot of people who could have been a potential networking opportunity.

I think it’s a positive that the NHS and the in particular the Health Trust I work for are embracing social media, for one it keeps me in a job. It’s important for the NHS to be seen to engage with other collaborators and communicate with their followers, considering the negative media attention it receives this was the NHS has the chance to build trust with its followers and create a positive image that is also in line with the trusts own objectives. Though ploughing forward with its own health campaigns social media isn’t for everyone or every NHS trust.

Promoting the NHS as a whole is one thing but what if you work for the NHS, should you have more than one account; a professional and a personal one that you could make private? This question was raised at a social media conference hosted by NHS Employers last year as some people were concerned about their patients trying to follow them or join their network. Take Twitter for example, many of the speakers chose to have one account that they used for both professional and personal purposes.  No matter what you use social media for there is always an element of common sense that should be used, don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face or would be harmful to yourself or others. There is no need to be rude, just because you can’t be seen visually doesn’t mean you have to behave like a troll, the only person whose image will be damaged is your own.
I only have one Twitter account which is used for both professional and personal purposes sharing industry related articles and those that are of interest to me such as baking.

In some circumstances it is important to keep your personal accounts hidden but on the whole having one account allows you to show your non business side as well, there are many things that make you the person you are and it doesn’t hurt to show this side of you once in a while.

Can you you really be anonymous online?

You see something online and find you want to comment on it but don’t want you reveal your identity at the same time?

That is one of the reasons why the social networking world is great and awful at the same time. Users can express their feelings and opinions, good or bad anonymously. One of the reasons why Twitter is so popular is because users can post those 140 characters messages without fear of repercussions, in theory. Due to the trolling behaviour of some users and the type of messages posted there have been causes for the law to become involved and the questions of whether social networks should be forced to reveal the real identity of those users was raised.

Not every social network user who uses a pseudonym is doing so for nefarious purposes, some of these people could be reaching out to a community where they need answers, a virtual community full of strangers who don’t know anything about them. So you can imagine the furor caused when Facebook revealed they were going to force users to use their real names. The aim is meant to protect users from stalkers, abusers alike, however something perhaps Facebook has failed to realise is that users could be using pseudonyms to protect themselves because they have been victims of stalking and abuse. The LGBT community are another group of people who are not keen on using their real identities, for many people they have not revealed their sexuality to the world and see it as a private matter. Drag queen acts who have Facebook profiles using their stage names are being forced to use their birth names claim this is causing them loss of business and followers as many of their fans only of them by their stage names.

Because of these restrictions coming into play we are seeing apps and social networking sites who focus on the importance of being anonymous online being created. The app Secret allows you to share ‘ …messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly.‘ With Secrets follos the app called Whisper which ‘…allow users to send messages anonymously, and to receive replies.‘, though an article published in The Guardian suggests otherwise. It would seem the Whisper app is tracking the location of its users including those who opted out of being followed. Naturally the creaters of Whisper denied this but have now re-written their terms of conditions to include ‘they now explicitly permit the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the app’s geolocation feature.‘ Imagine that, being stalked by an app!

No matter how much we want to believe we can remain anonymous it simply is not true as has been proven by the Whisperer app. Users may be able to post message but someone somewhere will still know who the person is behind the message.

With all this talk about being anonymity in the social media world we can’t forget about the ‘anti Facebook’ social network called Ello.“The way to think about Ello is there are absolutely no advertisements, no data mining” The only way to join this network is by invitation only either by an existing member of by sending a request. This company offers a free service but aims to make a profit through additional features which users can pay for.

The likes of Twitter and Facebook, like them or hate them are established networks so it’s understandable any competition is going to have to offer something the popular networks aren’t, in this case privacy.

Got some dirty laundry? Head to Twitter

DirtyLaundryWhat was meant to be a private text message exchange between a 17 year old boy and his cheating ex has gone viral thanks to him posting the conversation onto Twitter. This is one way to get back at a cheating ex, not a route I would choose to go down but then again I’m not a teenager.

 

This type of behaviour is not reserved just for the younger generation, we’ve seen before how scorned lovers have taken to social media to vent and share their anger, hurt and frustrations out to the world.

 

On YouTube you can find videos of spouses, girl/boyfriends caught in compromising positions with people other than their partner. To an outsider looking in this can seem entertaining but we fail to see that these are people’s lives and those associated with them that are going to be affected long after the internet world has forgotten about them and moved onto someone else’s embarrassment.

 

Many would agree that the behaviour of this teen and others like him did was appropriate for the situation, but is it really?

 

It’s not unknown that social media can be a toxic environment sometimes resulting in tragic consequences. Aren’t we encouraging the public vilification of people by liking, re-tweeting, sharing such posts? It’s like a modern day version of a public flogging or being held in the stocks whilst a crowd gathers to heckle and throw rotten vegetables at the accused.

 

I’d like to say there is time to change the way we view social media but I think it’s possibly too late. We’re all in our own shows with social media as our stage, smile for your paparazzi.

Put Adorable and Dork together and what do you get?

TwitterLanguageListen up people, if you want to part of the ‘in’ crowd or just want to understand with some of the ‘youf’ of today are saying, it’s time to update your vocabulary. I give you the latest addition to the Collins English Dictionary, as voted by 30% of people who took part in a Twitter poll.

ADORKABLE

This is a blend of adorable and dork meaning ‘socially inept or unfashionable in a charming or endearing way

Beating other admirable contenders such felfie, duckface, fatberg, and not forgetting nomakeupselfie

This concludes today’s English language update.

P.S

I know you’ll all be incorporating this word into your every communication, you adorkable bunch!

 

Twitter

News is being batted around about Twitter getting onto the NYSE and selling shares.

At the moment it would appear the shares are selling well at a higher than expected price. Don’t forget though that this also happened with Facebook’s share prices before they sharply fell. During this period Facebook did suffer some losses and took a few knocks before seeing an increase in share prices.

Perhaps Twitter will learn from Facebook’s mistakes, either way the ones expected to benefit the most from Twitter’s latest move will be the co-founders whose shares will have already increased in value. Unlike Sheryl Sandberg who did sell some of her Facebook shares, there haven’t been any reports of any of the Twitter founders selling any of their shares, yet.

Both Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular social networks currently out there. Should users be concerned about these networks need to diversify generate profits? We have seen the effect Facebook’s changes from advertising to becoming a public company has had on its users.  In some instances there is the concern that Facebook are sacrificing the safety of some of their younger users in a bid to increase the number of page views. Though Facebook have denied this have said they want to give their younger users more choice and options to share their views and opinions by making their posts public posts which would have previously been private.

Twitter currently has fairly lax security measures in place something they have received criticism for in the past. Now they have become a public company with members of the public buying company shares, will this impact the way Twitter makes certain decisions?

It’s a wait and see game now.

Graduate Job Search: Social Media

You’ve done all you can with creating a generic CV, which you will tweak and tailor to certain jobs.

Being of the Gen Y generation you already know a CV isn’t enough to get you that golden ticket known as an interview.

That’s right, social media is also an important factor in getting employers to notice you. We’ll look at some of the key players and how you can effectively utilise them in your job search.

Facebook

The majority of the world’s population have a Facebook page and no doubt you will look back fondly at the pictures of fresher’s week, the end of year balls not to mention those pictures which you don’t even remember, all publically saved and accessible by future employers.

Either ‘clean’ up this Facebook page and remove any evidence that is likely to paint you in a less than favourable light. Or increase the security settings on your existing Facebook and create another new Facebook page which can be used as an online version of your CV; highlighting your skills, work experience etc. Use this page to follow companies you would like to work for and build your social media brand.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, if you don’t already have an account for this network then create one. Use this environment to get in touch with potential employers ask them sensible questions directly and via groups. The more you effectively network the better.  Attach links to your online portfolios, blogs anything that is beneficial to your job hunting.

Blogging

What you choose to blog about is entirely up to you.  If you are going to use your blog to showcase your knowledge then keep in mind that your blog is reflection of you and available for all including potential employers to see. Alternatively why not use your blog to create an online version of your CV. WordPress offer a variety of suitable themes.

Pinterest

Pinterest may not have been around as long as some of the well-known social networking sites but has continuously grown in popularity. This networking site was initially thought to be an effective tool for females to share web pages relating to fashion, food, celebrities. Due to the visual aspect this networking site is also becoming popular with businesses and job seekers.

Twitter

You may not think you can do much with 140 characters lets alone promote yourself, but it can be done with a tweetsume.

Now you have an idea of how social media is more than just about updating statuses and photo albums go create your online brand and get yourself noticed by the right people.

Also have a look at my blog article; Graduate Job Search

IOS 7 Does not make your iPhone waterproof!

Apologies to any sane iPhone users out there.

Driving into work today I heard about how numerous people had fallen for a false iPhone advert claiming that the IOS 7 software will make their iPhone and iPads waterproof. Where did this information have the biggest impact? Social Media of course!

The credible source of information known as Twitter spread like a wildfire through the network with users proceeding to test out this new feature by submerging their device in water. This has resulted in many bright sparks finding out that upgrading their iPhones and iPads operating system in fact does NOT make your Apple device waterproof.

This goes to show the power of social media. No matter how far fetched and unbelievable the status update maybe, it will override any sane levels of intelligence and common sense.

If it’s on a social media network then it must be true.