Snap judgments? Let’s be honest, we’ve all made plenty and plenty have been made about us––that’s just the way it is. Maybe it was the shirt a person was wearing, the car they drove or their tone of voice. Maybe it was an email or even a voice mail. It could have been their walk, an interesting hairdo or some quirky mannerism. Isn’t it funny how we can take one small thing and overlay a complete persona. Yes, we all do it. And the scary part: it often sticks and in some cases we become a broadcaster and proliferate an opinion based on our limited if not single interaction with a person. “She must be a bitch.” “I bet he’s a real asshole to work for!” “What a nerd.” All based on a snap judgment, formed in the instant, without deliberation. How many times have you thought one thing and then had an opportunity to really get to know someone only to learn just how wrong you were? And, whether we like it or not, we’ve also been on the receiving end of a snap judgment––that’s just the way it works.
Getting to know someone adds context to who they really are and that person-to-person intimacy allows for a close familiarity and nearness that often reminds us of a metaphorical phrase we were taught as children and yet have a reasonably difficult time following: “Never judge a book by its cover”. In today’s digital environment, one that includes a new social media platform almost daily, person-to-person contact continues to give way to the efficiency of online interaction. And with only 24 hours in a day, who doesn’t thrive on being more efficient? We have connectivity platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Four Square, Yelp, Tumblr, Instagram and too many others to list. Each comes with a personal profile page and the ability to connect and interact with others. As our online relationships continue to grow in numbers, the intimacy of person-to-person contact and interaction is getting more and more difficult to come by. Your ability to add “context” to who you are is getting more difficult and that’s not going to change. As a matter of fact, it’s going to get more and more challenging and that’s why its so important that you take charge of your online persona, control the narrative about yourself and work diligently to add the necessary personal context for your burgeoning network of colleagues––you can influence that all important first impression, even if it is occurring online!
Count on this: If I am scheduled to have a first meeting with you, I will definitely look you up on LinkedIn, Google you, peek at your Facebook page, check out your Twitter posts and browse through your Instagram pictures––all in an effort to develop a little advance intel and advantage prior to the meeting. I’ll probably enter your name into Spokeo for some additional color. In the process, I will form an opinion about you and if I am wrong, you’ll have to work extra hard to recover! What type of online first impression do you think you make?
Are you confident about your online persona and personal visibility efforts? Snap judgments and first impressions are happening online every minute of the day. Like it or not, people are looking at you and for you––don’t be a victim!
- Cattle Have It Easy When It Comes To Branding! (tommccollum.me)
- If you’re a loser online…you’re just a loser (successfulworkplace.com)
- What is Your Public Persona? Personality types of the new generation (thenewsilentgeneration.wordpress.com)