Have you ever stopped to think about what five words define you? Businesses and marketing departments spend countless hours and millions of dollars a year to try and define themselves with words and ideas that resonate with customers, competitoris and the surrounding community, but no matter how much is spent, in most cases they’re defined by their actions and interactions. Look at the current Republican primary race and the money that has been spent in defining and positioning a candidate such as Mitt Romney. Millions and millions of dollars have been unleashed not to define who he is (or re-define…. or re-re-define now that you mention it), but to define other candidates such as Gingrich (insider, abrasive, baggage-laden) and Santorum (extremeist, hostile to women, and well….that whole other santorum thing ((you can google that yourself))). Romney has the same issues. I’ve never had an interaction with Mitt personally but based on what I’ve read and seen via debates, news, etc he’s mostly perceived as inconsistent, not genuine and out of touch. And in many cases we’ve seen the videos, photos and statements that can lend credence to that argument.
I’ve been fascinated lately by how we’re defining ourselves and how other’s define us. With most everyone’s Facebook page, Pinterest, or blog being a click away, are we really as cognizant as we should be about the words that others would use to describe us, or the story that we’re telling online? As our digital lives overlap more and more with our real-lives, authenticity matters more than ever. We’ve all got access to ‘the tape’ in some way by the trail of digital interactions that are left online every day. You have to be you. First impressions are still absolutely crucial, but that 2nd impression in a lot of cases may be your digital self.
One of my favorite things about going to SXSW in Austin is that I get the chance to meet many of the folks I follow or interact with online, in real life, and I love those instances when that person is just like they are online. That first impression (which was digital), can take a lot of the awkwardness out of that 2nd impression, the one in real-life, since we already have an idea of what we’re each about and where to start a conversation. But there’s nothing more disappointing than meeting someone whose personality is inconsistent with the voice they have online.
If you had to choose 5 words to describe yourself by your online activity, what do you think they would be? And more importantly, are they consistent with the way you actually are?