Do’s and Don’ts for Expressing Your True Personality Online

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”image of person standing out in a crowd

― Oscar Wilde

When it comes to sharing your thoughts and feelings with the world online and through social media, it’s important to just be yourself.

Not only will this set you apart from everyone else (because no one else is just like you), but the more your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and blog readers get to know you, the more likely they will be to support, follow and interact with you.

But you should proceed with some caution. There are cases where showing too many of your true colours can get you into trouble.

Below are some simple do’s and don’ts for sharing your individuality with the world.

Do be sensitive about current news stories and media events.

Making jokes about serious situations can get you into trouble.

In March 2011, comedian Gilbert Gottfried received media and public scrutiny and lost his sponsorship contract with insurance company Aflac (as the voice of their duck mascot in their TV commercials), when he made a series of unwise cracks online after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan:

“Japan called me. They said, ‘Maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here they’re all sinking,’” tweeted Gottfried. His jokes were way too soon and way too crude for most people’s tastes.

Do apologize if you make a mistake.

In 2011, Kenneth Cole sent the Twitterverse into an angry frenzy when he tweeted this statement during the revolution in Egypt:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard that our new spring collection is now available online.”

After social media watchdogs pounced on his comment with an assault of outraged blogs, Facebook and Twitter remarks, Cole quickly deleted his Tweet and issued a sincere apology on his Facebook profile. The public eventually accepted his remorse and left him alone.

Don’t be like Debbie Downer.

If you’ve ever seen the mid-2000’s Saturday Night Live Debbie Downer skits, you’ll recall that she was always sharing bad news about herself and the world around her. Each time she made a negative comment, sad music would play.

The same reaction can happen in the real world if you’re only sharing negative stories with your social media friends and followers. You won’t hear sad music, but you might hear the sound of crickets from a lack of anyone wanting to join you in the conversation.

Aim to be more positive and people will be more interested in hearing and commenting on what you have to say.

Don’t over share. Or, at least be aware of where you are sharing.

While you may want to share every idea and thought that comes to mind, remember that everyone has their limits of how much they want to hear from you.

Some social media platforms, like Twitter, are more accepting of frequent sharing. However, you may want to limit how many pictures and comments you share daily on other websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

These are just a few ideas to consider when expressing your personal brand online. Do you have suggestions on how to communicate your individuality through social media?

If so, please share them in the comments section below.

A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blogin June 2012 and has been republished with permission.
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