In the age of reality shows where participants and TV characters don’t necessarily have to possess any one talent to rise to fame, it appears that urban Millennials are on a race to outdo the next guy or gal and each other. Some Millennials are constantly testing the limits by pushing the envelope in the wrong direction. In this competitive arena, ‘you only get one chance to make a First Impression.’ So, if you are serious about putting your best foot forward, there are 3 rules to keep in mind:
Rule #1 to crafting a business persona: Don’t post anything on social media solely for its shocking value with the hope it might go viral.
Young ladies, unless you are Miley Cyrus, who’s a bright star in the entertainment industry and taking charge of her sexuality, please don’t release a weekly or monthly video of yourself on YouTube in daisy dukes or short shorts twerking. Those videos may come back to hunt you and subsequently hurt your career.
Rule #2 to crafting a business persona: Always keep it positive
This level of positivity can be accomplished by being committed to staying above the fray even when it comes to a “beef” between rappers on a social media site. Entertainers, especially musicians are often paid for that kind of charade. More importantly, rappers are known for consciously dividing the fan base for the sole purpose of selling records. You definitely don’t want to join the ranks of social media trolls and Internet bullies. According to Guy Kawasaki, a knowledgeable fellow who’s in the trenches of social media, “since we are all watching, you should stay positive and pleasant no matter how banal, blasphemous, or baiting the comment.” Unless you are Ann Coulter who’s known for her vitriolic comments and hyperbole, you won’t get away with it – i.e., white privilege. Ann Coulter is in the business of selling books, lots of them, to an ultra conversative wing of Republic Americans. When it comes to differences of opinions and disagreement, the rest of us should only go 3 rounds as they do in amateur boxing. Ding – ding. Round 1: commenter comments. Round 2: you respond. Round 3: commenter responds to your response. End of fight. This is a practical approach because there aren’t any short cuts for most of us in the world of business, and street credibility may help some hard core rappers with record sales but will not further your career but good conflict resolution skills will …
Rule #3 to crafting a business persona on social media: If you can’t do it or say it in front of your grandma, don’t put it out there.
In other words, be impeccable with your word. Focus your energy on crafting the right business and public persona. Be mindful that ‘Big Brother’ and some major companies are watching and listening. It’s not just a bunch of technocrats sitting behind a computer spying on you. Recruiters can find your most outrageous post that may have taken you 5 minutes to write but now has a negative impact on the start of a 43 year career. Social media sofware uses a system of algorithms programmed to continually look for correlations and causation, associations, affiliations, and interests. This system is making inferences and drawing conclusions about your activities. Therefore, if you are serious about a business or public persona on social media, your e-mail signatures should not include these 3 worst case scenarios: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of those problems and concerns are so prevalent that Mark Cuban, the owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and shark investor on the television series “Shark Tank” came with an app called “Cyber Dust” that doesn’t keep any record of users’ activities. Mark is looking at the system from the inside and also understands that a preppie, your grandma’s age, will probably be making the decision to hire you. Or a yuppie from a long gone era will make the decision whether you are a good fit for the company. Fortunately, you are an active participant in this whole process. Being determined to always make the right decisions on social media will not prevent a given employer from saying “no,” we are not interested. It will, however, guarantee that you are starting your career on the right foot.