Professional brand (yours) and other social media DOHs

October 22, 2012

Professional Brand. And other social media DOHs.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

The consideration of personal brand here reminds me of a question that I often revisit.

What makes a professional brand exciting to me?

And admittedly, I often get to the same chicken and egg conundrum.

Where is the priority? Existing relationships or value proposition.

This is not either/or – success and results demand both. Seemingly, equally.

Existing relationships can be a powerful indicator of recognized, proven value.

Value proposition invites and sustains connection, interest, and engagement.

When I consider a potential employee’s or business partner’s online presence, I want to see shares, reach, connection, engagement, and contribution (professional and otherwise). Buzz – not so much.

But I also want to see something that sets them apart and represents their intelligence, curiosity, character, collaborative capacity, and, for lack of a better term, humanity.

The later are the best indicators of the real value and resources they can bring to an organization or project(s).

For example, I would hire or work with Jack Steiner in a heart beat – if the results demanded that collaboration. And not just Jack.

Need a list?

Breakthrough professional insight – is awesome, but breakthrough insights are as rare as Osmium.

Independent thinking – irreverent opinion and skepticism is often mistaken for independent thought; the substance of rain-making, critical, independent thought, however, will never resemble molecular acid.

On the other side of the coin, pink bunnies and strident positivity never proliferate as measurable advantages, added value, or results. In fact, the pink bunnies have an uncanny pattern of trending toward death marches, failure, repeated failure, sustainable failure, and/or a high casualty count.

Creativity – but don’t bring your crayons or the naiveté of the grade school artist to the table. There is no vacant space on my fridge, thanks. If it doesn’t address or solve my (or our) problem, keep it on your fridge and do something better.

Passion – not to be mistaken as a license for licentious self-expression, unending self-defeat, or exhibition of behavioral issues that will get in the way of our collaboration. Be real and, sometimes, be the fool that battles windmills – this will recommend your courage and sincerity. But do not drool.

Vulnerability – as in own up to your mistaken opinions and failures, say your sorry, and give honor to those who deserve your recommendation. As often as you can! But do not paint a self-portrait that suggests you are a ticking time bomb. Or just another zombie.

The later only invites head shots – if you didn’t know. [grin]

Stan Faryna
22 October 2012
Bucharest, Romania

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Is Social Media for Me? A Guest Post by @BetsyKCross

October 15, 2011

Is Social Media For Me? 
by Betsy Cross


Erasure, Take a Chance on Me

Foreword by Stan Faryna

Of all the things that can own us, shame is the greatest of these. It stands in the way of opportunities, relationships, and self discovery. Shame counsels us to speak softly (or not at all) lest our ignorance become known to others, to enjoy the lawn from the sidewalk when we should be running across it barefoot, and, worst of all, to play our cards (or not play at all) or else.

Or else.

Or else what?

Most of us have seen Brené Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability and whole-heartedness. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here. Against your and my better instincts, Brown demonstrates that vulnerability is as beautiful and uplifting as it seems terrible.

If connection is what being human is most about as Brené Brown argues, we cannot connect without vulnerability. Brown explains in her TED talk: we have to let people see us, we have to be us, and we have to feel the feelings that we feel.

Betsy Cross is herself struggling with being vulnerable in social media. She also see others struggling with vulnerability. She observes the social media game of falsified connections, superficial engagement, and an underlying desperation for people to connect to other people. The underlying desperation to connect, she notices, is an apparent contradiction to the vast and immediate opportunities provided by the various social networks.

What’s up with that?!

The most obvious problem is the lack of vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity of even veteran social media professionals and influencers. The old guard teach new comers how to do online relationships in a manner that correlate to measurement, analytics, and infographics. But what passes for social media etiquette does not fully address peoples’ need for deeper connections. It doesn’t help people build things that last – neither life-long friendships nor online communities. Betsy is right when she questions standard social media process.

I am reminded of Emily Dickinson who wrote in a letter: Friends are my estate.

At the end of my days, if I shall compare online friendship to a million silvery ships passing at warp speed among the stars (a breathtaking sight to be sure), my estate will be as cold and barren as the terrible distance between the stars.

Although a newcomer to social media herself, Betsy embraces vulnerability and speaks whole-heartedly in this guest post. She’s worried that she doesn’t have all the answers. I am honored that she is doing it here on my blog.

Hers is an act of courage and vulnerability. She wanted very much not to take this step, but she did. And I am proud of her for doing so.

Thank you, Betsy.

Stan Faryna
Bucharest, Romania
15 October 2011

Erasure, Always

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