What I find fascinating about the digital world is the enthusiasm with which we attack all social media platforms, eager to bust out our most intimate victories and failures, and the ensuing dread that creeps up our spines as we realize that we have just engaged and committed to a serious exercise in personal brand management.
Oh it seems easy enough to keep your Twitter feeds separate, and your Facebook page pristine, but seriously folks, how long does that really last?
You start to focus on your multiple facets and which social platform best fits each one.. you dissect yourself into audience-appropriate categories. "Wait. I only talk about my Courtney Love conspiracy theory on Facebook.. to this select group.. or through my personal Twitter account on alternate Thursdays...no wait.."
Really? Isn't it hard enough to keep these things sorted in real life? The other day my communication wires got crossed and instead of using the proper and formally scripted well-wishes for a swift recovery generally expected when my 80 year old cottage neighbour showed me his bruised hip, I gleefully exclaimed:
"Ha! You totally just flashed me. You know Jack, there's easier ways of getting my attention than breaking your butt."
He was shocked. I was appalled. And then thankfully things sort of broke into bubbly -albeit awkward- laughter.
We know that in real life we interact differently with different people. I am a totally unadulterated version of myself with less than 5 people. Everyone else gets a little bit of processing. Kat-the-business-woman, Kat-the-super-mom, Kat-the-media-darling, Kat-the-geek.. You name it. But for as many facets as I have cultivated over my lifetime, I only have one Facebook page, 2 Twitter accounts, and 2 websites/blogs. This is one of them. Talk about editing down.
Am I genuine in all vectors of social media? Yes. But my Facebook page will always be more of a lookbook for those who think they know me by scrolling through a few pictures. And as much as I love Spin the Idea, it's my business. As much as I want to let it all hang out, I can't. I may write frankly and speak my mind, but there's always a final coat of polish added at the end. Recently I've been writing and tweeting so intimately that my @spintheidea account on Twitter has tumbleweed blowing through it. When I do tweet through it, it's usually a double post from my 'real me' account.
And what is the real me? Well, it's the one that talks about eating Nutella with a spoon, drinking a glass of wine to dull the heart-wrenching cries of my toddler in her full-blown 'I'm not going to bed' campaign. It's the one that talks about business strategy while in her pjs. It's the one that doesn't get everything done. The one that doesn't always know what she's doing, and loves every minute of uncertainty.
Strangely, this 'real me' account and blog, @bumpandhustle and thebumpandhustle.com have more hits and more followers than Spin has ever had. In fact, people know me as '@bumpandhustle' before they even associate me with Spin. If these were two brands I was managing it would be clear whose strategy was more successful, and I'd be tempted to say 'Spin, be more real, just be yourself and connect with people personally'.
Confusing, yes. And definitely contributing to an identity complex of sorts.
As it stands, it's all me. And I guess to get an idea of who I really am, people have to explore and experience each aspect of me. Maybe they'll figure out what they like and don't like. Maybe they'll only follow one handle, or bookmark one site.
But the message is out there for the world to see.