Wanna know something great about social media? If you’re a dick (in the slang sense), eventually people will know it. Why? Because of the transparent nature of the platforms and its associated tools. You see, if you hang yourself out there far enough, your personality starts to show. Take Twitter for example. If you Tweet long enough, patterns start to form. Just like in grade school, high school and college and at your work. You start to see the personalities of the people that you “hang with” every day.
I used to say and still do, that you can determine the true personality of someone by how they carry themselves in sports. Be it on the basketball court, the golf course, a pick up game, anything. If you act like a jerk, then it will show. If you bust your ass, people notice. if you’re a team first type of person, people notice. If you’re a dick, people notice. Well guess what? The same holds true in social media.
Here’s the thing though. In this uber networked world we now live in. You really don’t want the tag of being “the dick”, or even “that bitch”, for that matter. No one wants to work with those types of people, no one wants to hang with those types of people and no one certainly wants to hire or refer that kind of person.
For those that might be the aformentioned, It’s not about trying not to please everyone either; and it’s not about being hard or cool or contrarian. Or trying to have this badass persona. You don’t have to. it’s boring and childish. It’s about being real. and being a realist. Look, we’re all scratching and clawing for the same things here, but if I felt the need to write this, well then you can pretty much figure out that something must be awry.
There’s a term that we should all strive for and one that I think is the ultimate compliment that can be given to someone. If someone says that you are “good people”, consider it the equivalent of being knighted. For someone to say that you are “good people” means that you treat people fairly, you’re generally nice to everyone, and everyone is on equal footing with you and vice versa. It doesn’t get any better than that. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have your moments, we all have them. But for the most part, you’re a solid citizen. In this case, the offline world can and should mirror the online world.
In social media, you can tell pretty quickly and pretty easily who the good people are. Even more so, you can eventually tell who the dicks are. Don’t be one.
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This is a great reminder of how to act. I think another element to keep in mind is how things are perceived online (not just how you act). Social media itself has really helped me develop in this area, and I’m glad it has.
For example, I’m a very sarcastic person by nature. All through high school and college, that was my “sense of humor.” And I was kind of a jerk (but not to the extent that my friends had a problem with it…at least…I don’t think they did). It was sort of a “That’s just how Mike is.”
Here’s where the change came in. As I became more and more active in the social media realm, I noticed that my sarcasm didn’t come off as funny anymore. You can use sarcasm in things like blog posts, but specifically, with tools like Twitter, sarcasm is far to easy to misinterpret. Suddenly, it wasn’t “Oh that’s just how Mike is,” but was instead “Well that was kind of rude.”
So I had to change. I decided to start just being more courteous, more supportive, and more positive in general. And that changed me outside of social media. You mentioned “on the court,” and I noticed that now, playing volleyball and basketball, I’m much more likely to compliment people (both teammates and opponents) rather than to be cynical about my own abilities or mistakes. And I think people appreciate that.
This is a great reminder for people to not only think about how you act, but also to consider how other people might perceive how you online, even if you think everything’s fine.
Sorry for the novel of a comment. Great thoughts though, Marc.
You’re right Mike, it does cause you to step back and realize how your comments and context are being perceived. thanks for a very thoughtful comment
Great observation and transformation Mike! Thanks Marc for this interesting article. It makes sense that personalities would start to show. In one of my other Twitter personas most of those whom I’m following do mini-ads for their services, whereas I do more personal stuff. Thing is that I started to not feel like tweeting because everyone had all these ads. Funny… but I got over it.