Image
Photo taken at #SoCapOtt by Flashpoint Photobooth

“Aren’t you worried your clients will see this?”

Every so often, a well-meaning friend or family member will ask me if I should be more cautious about what I publish on Marika-esque.

I created this blog as a creative outlet, an incentive to write and a conversation starter but I also run my own business.

TV addiction, vented frustrations and elastic waistlines aren’t exactly flattering portrayals of a distinguished professional, especially when punctuated by the occasional expletive.

So back to the question: should I be more careful about revealing my “weaknesses” online? Here’s how the answer goes…

“I don’t think so, but now that you mention it…” voice trails off, panic sets in, as does the vision of a dramatic credibility-vaporizing dismissal, inevitable downwards spiral and a tragically short life on the streets spent making puppets out of discarded Big Mac containers (Got my next screenplay idea!)

The question is valid and certainly worth reconsidering. So I do. But I always come back to the same conclusion: s’all good.

I’m real (perhaps more so than JLo)

See, I’m the kind of person you’d call–now, how should I put this –human. Plain and simple. I screw up. I have things that I want to improve about myself. I get mad, sad and glad (though not usually at the same time). That’s one of my greatest strengths (right up there with humility).

What kind of a communications professional would I be if I weren’t in tune with the humans on the other end? How do you get people enthused by a Facebook post if it looks like it was churned out by the Robosocio Media Maker 3000 (patent pending), to fit into a generic, sterile, neutral, “professional”, uninteresting mold?

Now, I don’t recommend you start tweeting your bowel movements or anything, cause that might put you in the “too gross to hire” category, but still; a certain human element is no only acceptable, but an asset in many fields.

Sure, if I were a judge, the Prime Minister, or in another profession requiring a sober public persona I would reconsider. But I’m in the business of creating engaging content to be understood and related to by my fellow less-than-perfect human beings. The more I can identify with people on the personal level, the more I find myself able to engage with them in my professional life.

The right place at the right time

Another thing I consider is context.

Yes, publishing on the internet means that anyone, pretty much anywhere, could end up seeing this blog. Even (especially) existing and potential clients (Hi guys!)

That being said, if they come into this space, they know it’s my personal blog, serving a specific audience in a specific way.

It does not mean that this more liberal style of writing would end up in their next promotional brochure (unless they want it to) or that I’ll drop the F-bomb on their corporate blog.

It wouldn’t be the right place for that kind of content. And that’s context.

So there’s my answer. You don’t have to hide all the personal behind some mask of professionalism (except maybe you, your Honor).

I have faith in the whole “human” thing. Higher-than-usual levels of disclosure and demonstration of a clear personality (complete with fears, concerns and mistakes) work for folks like Alexis Grant, Shenee Howard of Hey Shenee! Chris Brogan of Human Business Works (worked so well that I just signed up for two of their online courses) and Danny Brown.

In fact, I just saw Danny speak at #SoCapOtt this past weekend and, on top of the dirtiest tweets I ever did read, he showed this video in which he goes on and on about sheep. This is the guy who has the #1 marketing blog on the net, according to HubSpot (and a million other distinctions that would require a whole new post to list). If he can express his love of sheep without tumbling down to the #2 marketing blog, I can express my love of Project Runway.

If I’m wrong, lose all my clients and you find me rummaging through a dumpster a year from now, I’ll take it all back.  But you’ll have to give me a computer first.

Advertisements