Best Face Forward

I recently changed the profile picture that I use across the Social Media spectrum. Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and WordPress are now all showing the same photo. I did this to make my social media persona more consistent. So, if somebody follows me on Twitter and I re-pin one of their favourite things on Pinterest, it will help them  realize its the same person just with different online accounts. Having a clear current picture also makes it easier to place a person when you meet them in the flesh. I recently attended my first Tweet Up (a meet up for Twitter users) and I met some online acquaintances for the very first time. It was fascinating to compare their online personalities to their in person actuality . Some were shorter than I had imagined, but they were all as nice as I had hoped.

The Tweet Up was to benefit our local food bank and I think that symbolized the one thing we all had in common, caring about our community. Community is why I work at a Credit Union, it’s why my son goes to a school that we can walk to together and why we always run into our friends and neighbours at the grocery store or neighbourhood park. It’s all about connection. That’s why I want to support and encourage small independent businesses to take to the online world, to create and strengthen the real world relationship with their customers. We can’t always meet face to face, but with the Social Media tools available we can always see eye to eye.

The best way to connect online is by being your interesting self. Share what inspires you, what frustrates you and respond to others who do the same. While my picture and my persona are in sync in the online world, I find that each network reflects a slightly different image based on its role and place in the scheme of Social Media. Sometimes my Apple product enthusiast side comes through on Youtube, other times my fashion obsession comes to light on Pinterest, my daily food fix is revealed through Instagram, then my finical acumen pops up on LinkedIn, finally my Starbucks addiction is exposed by FourSquare, but the one thing that always comes through is my fascination with Social Media. I also like to think that my peculiar sense of humour and positive outlook pervades all these profiles as well.

It was a real life connection in a BCIT class that really solidified my understanding of online and offline personalities. In my Public Speaking course at the Burnaby campus a couple of years back I listened to classmate, Olivia Lovenmark, speak about her passion for blogging. She talked about her blog, Stylestruck, and the opportunities it had created for her and the people that she has connected with on Twitter. Her restaurant background and her immersion into the world of Social Media resonated with me and her willingness to put herself out there in the online world was very inspiring. As I grow my own online presence and help others to take that step, I use Olivia as an example of someone who has created a successful career, including appearing on Breakfast Television, and promoting H&M, based on putting her best face forward.