Social Media, Reputation, and The Currency of Character
Who do we think we are?
A long while back, I had a great conversation with one of my advisors Fields Jackson (@fleejack) who is an expert on Social Media and Corporate Diversity. He stated that “the currency of character has increasing importance in today’s world and economy.” The phrase “currency of character” stuck with me. Later that day, I read a piece on Mashable “The Online Activity That’s Keeping You Unemployed [INFOGRAPHIC]” http://ow.ly/oVP4I .
The projection of your character through the medium of social media increasingly defines your reputation and that of your peers. Of course, your peers and your affiliations impact your reputation as well and potentially could reflect positively and negatively on your character. The currency metaphor works well here. When we contribute to the ongoing dialogue we are making deposits or withdrawals. Either we are strengthening our reputation and the underlying assumptions or beliefs that people have developed about us over time or we are weakening our reputation and risking losing this increasingly valuable currency. Sometimes this currency can not be re-earned or at least not re-earned in time to be able to maximize value in the marketplace.
Something to think about for sure. Here are some rules I follow:
1. Post publicly or assume nothing is private. The old saying was “if you wouldn’t do it or say it in front of your grandma, don’t say it.” Now its, if you don’t want to say it in front of your grandma, her friends, or the interviewer for the job you will apply for on day, don’t say post or share it.
2. Be an encourager. Stay positive. In this case the old adage applies: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. But if you can say something positive or share something that can uplift or inspire or be a clean funny, go for it.
3. Don’t emote or share reckless emotion. The person who appears unstable or without values, or boundaries could be viewed as a liability to an organization. We all have SOME bad thoughts or weak moments each day. Have the discipline to keep them to yourself.
4. Be you. Ultimately none of us can truly hide. And we can’t get caught up in caring too much what others think of us. But if you lack the discipline to think through what you post online, that’s a statement about your character by itself. If you make a mistake, apologize and delete in that order. Own your mistake and keep it moving.
In the age of Character as Currency, our account balance is public record. Focus all your efforts on creating the value that reflects who you are. No one expects perfection and we can disagree without being disagreeable, but use emotional intelligence and keep it positive.