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Sunday
Jun242012

Convergence - yes it is time to recognize! 

Once upon a time, during social media's infancy, LinkedIn was thought of as that professional place where you go to build an online resume.  Facebook was a place to connect with your friends, family, and even those high school buddies you forgot from way back in the day.  Remember when Twitter was that in between thing that folks didn't know to describe?  Back then we all let our natural desire is to keep work related things in the work category. Fun related things sat in the fun category.

Fast forward to 2012. Social media has invaded our lives. In fact, all sites seem to be fighting for us to integrate them even further into our lives. Every site has a level of "status update". Facebook. LinkedIn and remember Twitter? It is one giant update succinctly expressed in 140 characters.

The benefit of social is that it brings people together in real-time. The disadvantage of social is that it brings everyone together, whether or not you want, in real-time. Like it or not, your coworkers could eventually find you on Facebook. What do you do when you get that one invite that makes you feel just a bit awkward? Or, what happens when one of your friends post something on your wall that makes you wonder why you're friends in the first place?  As much as we might try to compartmentalize different aspects of our lives, social media is working that much harder to bring those aspects closer together. Convergence is the new normal.

Social media touches everything -- the professional, the personal, world events, etc. As such, site names aside, LinkedIn Erna, Facebook Erna, and Twitter Erna are all Erna. While I agree, I won't use LinkedIn to share vacation highlights, my LinkedIn and Twitter thoughts are very much connected to all the things I enjoy: marketing, technology, strategy, food, and fashion. When I first joined Facebook, I made the decision to connect to very close friends and family. However, over the years a few of my colleagues have been added to that circle and now they get to see just how much I enjoy going to new restaurants and eating.

Ernisms

Each of us has the opportunity to create and cultivate our digital footprint in the manner we wish. We just need to put forth a bit of effort to ensure we are comfortable with how that footprint evolves.  Although it might be a bit scary to watch your worlds collide, think of social media as an opportunity to round out your personal brand. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Use LinkedIn to share your thoughts on all things related to your profession or a topic you're interested in via LinkedIn Groups and by sharing articles or posts via your profile.  Also, remember that summary field in your LinkedIn profile? Use that to share a bit more about you as opposed to the job you currently hold.    
  • Continue the conversation on Twitter, where you can also chat about a variety of topics and interact with others on just as many. Be mindful that your tweets are public, unless you change your account settings. I love Twitter because of the ease of interaction. It is a great place to blend business and other interests.  Just make sure your profile shares some of those interests so folks can see the inspiration behind your thoughts. For instance, I love fashion and food in addition to technology, marketing, and strategy. Folks that follow me @WittyErna see my tweets which reflect this, among a plethora of other thoughts.  Google+ is also a good place to interact and follow folks who may have similar thoughts and interests.
  • Pinterest is a great place to put some visuals to your interests. So remember all that food and fashion I mentioned? You can see what it all looks like on my boards via ErnaA on Pinterest.
  • Of course there is a disclaimer I must add about Facebook. If you are a business and have a Facebook business page, be mindful to keep things professional. You can post about things related directly or somewhat indirectly to your business, but be sure to keep the goal of your page in mind when you do so. If you don't have a business, just be selective about who you chose to connect on Facebook. It is all right to not connect to someone, just be prepared to tell them why if they ask.

Now, as you go off an evolve your digital footprint, remember convergence is here and social media thrives on authenticity. Be your authentic self while showing the world how interesting you are! :-)

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