Last night at the New Institute meeting in Newcastle we had a great discussion about the benefits of social media in various walks of life. During the Q&A session at the end of the night came some questions about how people conduct themselves online and the potential risks.
The discussion prompted me to compare social media to golf.
My father has been a passionate golfer most of his life and has begun many a business deal on the golf course. He has told me repeatedly that golf provides a great insight into a person’s character. On the golf-course a person’s manners, etiquette, honesty and temperament are quickly revealed. He says the way a potential business partner conducts himself in a round of golf gives him an idea of how they will conduct themselves in business, and whether he wants to do business with them.
The same can be said about social media. The way people conduct themselves online provides a great insight into the person.
If you encounter and engage with someone online who is giving of their time and advice, shares information, is polite and respectful, then there is a big chance that they will also be a good person to do business with.
Conversely, we have all seen the snarky, aggressive cynic in our social networks. Someone who is rude online and attacks others, is pushy with their sales pitch or perhaps perceived to be unethical. Why would we want to do business with these people if this is an insight to their nature?
Of course, not everyone who is online is there for business reasons. But if you are or if you feel that a future employer could come across you online, then be aware that you may well be judged by your online persona.
The other similarity between golf and social media is that there are no shortcuts to success. It takes time to achieve your goals and a steady, consistent approach usually works best. The journey can be as rewarding as the success you achieve in end.