In today’s world where visibility and opportunity go hand-in-hand, not having a robust virtual presence is the equivalent of an unlisted phone number. Akin to someone that doesn’t want to be found, seen, evaluated or a part of anyone’s pre-meeting reconnaissance. It might also mean that a person’s embarrassed or possibly even afraid of putting their story out there digitally for the entire world to examine. In some cases it might even be an arrogant proclamation: “I know who I am and I don’t care what anybody thinks.” Or, “I already have a job and I don’t need to be seen or discovered by anyone.” Maybe its the CEO or leader that see themselves above this ubiquitous “social media” phenomenon. Yes, a few of those remain holdouts––see previous three sentences.
The best attitude is simply this: Distinguish yourself, even if no one is looking! The truth is, the personal and business relationship landscape is changing rapidly and the way we interact with others is making a profound evolution. Person-to-person intimacy and contact continues to give way to the efficiency of online relationships and interactions. Virtual networks are expanding our reach, availability and efficacy and with a little time and effort, we are able to promote our personal marquees around-the-clock with effective placement, high visibility indexes––tagged and key worded for maximum discoverability, all without looking like arrogant self-promoters.
For most professionals, LinkedIn likely suffices and is probably the most effective platform for personal visibility purposes. LinkedIn has a very convenient format for telling one’s story and indexes extremely well in terms of overall discoverability. It’s never too early to start and frankly, college students should be developing their LinkedIn profiles as early as their freshman year. Know this: Profiles are a work-in-progress and never really finished––they take time and effort, particularly if you want to be the dressed up digital version of yourself. In this snap-judgment-world we live in and considering the internet IS the new first impression, you probably won’t get many second chances. Snap judgments you say? Let’s be honest, we’ve all made plenty and plenty have been made about us––that’s just the way it is. Are you as confident about your online persona and personal visibility efforts as you could be?
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! Your ability to add “context” to who you are is getting less difficult but that’s not to say it’s easy, particularly the longer you wait to get started. Take charge of your online persona sooner than later––the visibility has a payoff.
If someone is unable to find you online, they might just think you’re stuck in the past, technologically inept or just don’t care and nowadays, none of those reflect well on you. Your goal should be simple––an online image that matches your offline persona. Snap judgments and first impressions are happening every minute of the day and like it or not, people are looking for you and at you online far more often than you might think––don’t be a victim of shifting relational preferences!
Distinguish yourself––people are looking.
- Digital Exhaust – - What Kind of Trail Are You Leaving? (tommccollum.me)
- I’ve Seen You Online & You Look Nothing Like Yourself (tommccollum.me)
- Personal Branding & Shakespeare – What Could They Possibly Have in Common? (tommccollum.me)
- Integrating Your Offline and Online Presence (axial.net)
- Are you making the most of LinkedIn? (fidelispartners.wordpress.com)