Don’t get me wrong. I love social media and I spend a lot of time on social sites for personal and business reasons. But I’ve noticed a growing trend. One I don’t really like. Social media is pretty appealing for the introverts, the socially-awkward, and the anti-social. You can be social without being “around” people. You can be anyone or anything you want to be and no one can dispute it because you’re behind your computer and not face to face.
- The insecure can become confident.
- The introvert can speak their mind with reckless abandon and little consequence.
- The anti-social guy who doesn’t feel comfortable in real life social situations can be the “cool jock” on screen.
Social media can inflate egos and give users an inflated sense of self-importance and make them think they can behave any way they want. I don’t know where or when things shifted, but suddenly the rude, bad mannered, poor tempered, foul mouthed started being considered by some as being a “bad-ass” online.
Does this behavior continue and grow because others are afraid to call them out on it because they don’t want to get attacked?
What blows my mind is seeing completely inappropriate, unprofessional tweets from professionals and entrepreneurs in all different industries, freelancers, designers, and developers who are connected with clients, potential clients, industry influencers, and more.
I have so many questions, I just don’t understand it. Maybe you can help? Maybe you can answer these questions and shed some light on why people think acting like a jerk makes you look cool online:
- Are you really a jerk, or are you pretending to be because you think it makes you look cool? Is this the real you or is it an act?
- Does typing blatant profanity in your social media post make you feel like a rebel? How can you type that and think it’s a good idea? Or do you just not realize potential clients may be reading your posts?
- Why do you think it’s okay to bad mouth and tear down other people publicly?
- Do you think that your rudeness, profanity, drunk-talk, and client bad mouthing makes anyone want to work with you? Do you think potential clients see your tweets and think, “Wow I want to work with him!”?
- Are you aware that those in your industry see your tweets and think, you just don’t “get it” — or that those who may have been considering you as a partner abandon the idea because you’re too much of a brand liability?
- Does tweeting about how great you are and how much smarter you are than everyone else really make you feel important and smart?
- Do you act the way you do because you think you’re untouchable in your industry?
If anyone can answer these questions? I’d love your insights. When I started Bourn Creative, someone gave me a great piece of advice, “You are your brand. Everything you do and don’t do, everything you say and don’t say, will be a reflection on your business and will shape others’ perception of you.”
Now, I’m not saying I’ve been the model of perfection when it comes to social media — I’ve posted my own rants here and there, and some tweets that maybe I shouldn’t have posted. It happens — and it will happen to everyone at some point as we’re all only human and we have feelings and make mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, those that behave like a jerk on social media had no one to advise them. Maybe they have no idea what the ramifications are for their online behavior. Maybe they have never considered their social media brand — or their brand in general. Who knows?
What I do know is that everything you post is a reflection of your own personal brand. Everything you post contributes to your reputation and the perception others have of you. It’s part of your branding.
- Is what you post building your brand, or tearing it down? Or is it a little of both?
- Do you see this trend as well? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you think they just don’t know any better, or they just don’t care?
- Do you think this is just a side-effect of it being normal to live life out loud publicly on the internet and people just being used to speaking their mind via social media with little-to-no real life consequences?