Humanity in Social Media – Finding Your Identity

Your Social Media Identity

Who are you on social media

YOUR WORLD according to YOUR PLACE in it. Find Out Who You Are.

What might amaze you about social media is the level of DISCOVERY, EXPLORATION, SURPRISE and SERENDIPITY that’s available. And there’s a relatively straightforward way to uncover the possibilities. It all starts with you and defining your social media identity.

As business owners, we’ve come to the understanding that if we want to thrive, we need to connect with the rest of the big wide world that is increasingly within our reach. The shrinking world has long since shrunk. It’s beyond knocking on our doorstep. It’s been welcomed in and integrated into our homes and places of business. Even our thinking, points of reference and relationships have changed. We are connected. Especially if we want to be.

Our online-lives have mushroomed past vacation photos and family pictorial essays, silly cat pictures and funny videos in social channels or even blogging as a primary means of online communication. It’s a move away from merely documenting our lives or documenting our businesses. It is a move towards a fully engaged experiential approach of interacting, sharing, connecting, learning, teaching, listening, contributing, meeting people your didn’t know existed from around the world. Taking in and feeding out. We are building a new future and a new web. (Disclosure: Google+ is setting the example)

It’s a world of (business) connection and opportunity. If you haven’t taken the plunge for your business, you probably feel some guilt and discomfort because by now, everyone is telling you it’s a requirement. Because it is.

Want to be known for what you know, your expertise? Claim and implement your Google Authorship. Want your website found? Create quality content and promote it on Social Media. Care about your customers? Engage with them on Social Media. Looking to show up in Google search? Make sure you are including Social Media in your SEO strategy, be out there. Do all of the above and begin to build your authority and perhaps become influential. Be findable. Be found.

“Semantic search requires a strong and constant social signal. In the semantic web attributes such as trust and reputation revolve around identity. These are all aspects of the social web. An online business without a social presence is immediately handicapped.”
The Most Common Questions in Semantic Search, Best selling author of Google Semantic Search, David Amerland

Social signals count

This isn’t a how-to article exactly. I’m not going to list out the various social media channels and tell you how to subscribe and get started. I’m not going to give you the secret handshake or protocol and nuances. What I am interested in talking about here is how we locate who we are when we’re out there engaging in these vast networks. Rather, this is a pep talk of sorts. How you are perceived and what you gain will develop out of how you present yourself, who you are, the contribution you make and the cohesion you create and maintain across all channels.

The need is established. What next?

Who are you going to be out there in the wilderness and how do you make it sustainable?

You aren’t alone in this query. We all wonder about it. My own experience has been enlightening. I’m here to report the vastly gratifying, even thrilling nature of it. The more time I spend engaging and learning, say on Google Plus, which is my place, my social “home” or as many call it my “university” of choice, the more I am getting to know who I am and even who I can become in my own perfect world. Online and offline. Yes. Very surprising.

“In a social network we are open units, inviting sharing and contact rather than isolation. Ideas, notions, shares and personal moments all become points around which we invite interaction. And others do the same.… The difference between our offline and online lives is that we have had a long time to grow comfortable with the former, we are only just now beginning to understand the latter.”   
David Amerland. For the full article: Entanglement in a social network

From outside the gate, it can seem like a daunting task. Joining in, starting a blog, spending time engaging, utilizing social media for your business, changing your thinking from old school SEO to new strategies, creating your content, building your content marketing and on and on. Understanding the evolving semantic web. This can seem like a lot to negotiate. And that’s just a partial list.

So again… How?

Here’s one simple golden possibility. Be real. Be authentic and transparent. Hallelujah! If you’re anything like me this is cause for celebration. It comes as a huge relief. What could be easier than showing up as………drum roll……..YOU ?

Which You is You?

If there were an automatic switch it would be called the “Just Be You” switch. Can you locate yourself within the frenzy of everything around you? Of busywork, multitasking, the barrage of information, the every day mundane? Or do you get lost? It may take some slowing down, investigation and experimenting, trial and error but it’s right there in you and within your company waiting to be uncovered. This is the way towards a sustainable and productive experience.  Again: be authentic and transparent. And congruent.

How do you know which part of you is the most authentic? My thought is that who you are in real life carries well into who you will be online. The discovery will come by testing some waters, relaxing into it and letting go of self-consciousness (within reason and appropriate boundaries). It might even catalyze some growth in real life.

Sometimes we’re simply unable to locate our identity even when we’re trying. We are complex beings made up of parts and to top that we have ideas about who we are in addition to who we actually are. Layers upon layers. My experience here has been one of tying the pieces of me together. Congruency.

I am locating my authentic online persona by showing up as myself and as a truthful representative of our business. I am the same person typing this, in an intimate conversation, at a party or a yoga class and yes, with our clients and speaking to you. And our business culture and identity is the same one that you’ll encounter in social channels, in a meeting in our office, or while you’re working with us on a project. Don’t be afraid to show yourself.

Be Uniquely You

It will be different for each of us. But there are certain principals that can be established. And that brings me to the next point. Your relationship to social media is something that is as unique to you and to your business as anything else. Don’t try to find a formula to wear like a costume. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s idea of the how-to. No one-size-fits-all here. Be open to the surprises, the way you don’t expect. It may be something entirely different than what you think now. Find your own way to being yourself. You have a lot to offer.

At a certain point, you will have carved out a place where you’ve built relationships, people will know you and you’ll be in the groove. Remember that the overall goal is to create something that is sustainable and true. How better to do that than by being who you really are?

And two more parting quotes from David Amerland. Truthfully, I tried to find some other resources, but he just says it best (Thank you, Mr. Amerland).

In Google Semantic Search, David Amerland says: “All marketing is a narrative but it is usually a fragmented one. How do you make sure that the message you project is cohesive? “

  “The answer is disarmingly simple: be you. Authenticity, honesty, transparency, are what makes a narrative coalesce. They create the building blocks of its memorability. They become the stamp of its uniqueness. Ultimately we are each, a story. The greatest tragedy, perhaps, is if it remains untold.” The Narrative of You David Amerland

What has your experience been? Questions? Feel free to comment here or if you wish, you can find me on Google+. Being me.

photo credit:__MaRiNa__ via photopin cc

  • author's avatar

    By: Gina Fiedel

    Gina Fiedel is the co-founder/owner of Fat Eyes Web Development. After a successful career as an artist and transitioning into electronic media in the early 90’s, she then founded Fat Eyes in 1998 to bring those skills to the web with her husband, Doug Anderson. Being engaged in business has created gratifying opportunities for communication and new inroads towards making a contribution that counts. You can learn more about Gina on the Fat Eyes Who Are We? page and Gina Fiedel Story.

  • author's avatar