It’s not what we do, it’s who we are.

…or, “My take on social media, pt II”.

See, it occured me the other day, that people have been for a very very long time defined by what they do. Sure, there have been royalties and icons, celebrities and famous people, who have reached a pinnacle where what they did didn’t really matter anymore, just THAT they did it, whatever it was.

Most other people were, to a large extent, defined by what they did. Not to their family and friends, of course, who knew them intimately, but to any stranger they met on the street, at a convention, at a party or wherever. “Hi, I’m a manager at the Bank of XYZ!” “Oh, ok, I’m actually one of the janitors at Bank of XYZ”.

Or “Hi, I develop cross media formats!” “Yeah, me too!”.

I think you can see where the discussion would flourish and where it would probably end with a quick “cheers!” and parted ways.

I know, I’m being a bit stereotypical, just bare with me for a second… πŸ™‚

But now, eh? Twitter being the most obvious example at the moment. What got me thinking was that the other day I commented on a friend of mine doing a speech at a conference. He referred to a policy of an online web shop service, saying it gave bad experiences. I tweeted that, with the name of the service. A couple of hours later, the CEO of that service tweets me, asking about what had been said. In this particular case it didn’t matter what profession I had, not at all. Same goes for most of my followers at the moment. Some follow ’cause they are friends. Some follow because I’ve followed them. Most follow because of who I am – someone who likes to fish, someone who’s interested in media, someone who tweets silly links every now and then, someone who goes to conferences once in a while and tweets eagerly from them, some follow because we all like writing… Yes, some follow because I’ve got “format developer” as a job title, but to me that’s more of an interest than a profession.

Can I draw a conclusion here? I’ll try. See – anyone has the opportunity to be themselves online. They can even be the better parts of themselves, should they wish to. There’s no need to define oneself along the lines of ones profession, if one does not want to. So now, finally, people can be interested in YOU. Or not interested, which also might be the case. Just don’t take it personally πŸ™‚

PS. I should also add that the “what we do”-tag, when it comes to social media, is a lot more about how we use different social media, than what we have as a profession. For instance, someone who just uses Facebook gives a different initial impression of him-/herself than someone who is on Twitter exclusively. Or a Blogger/Waver (if Google Wave can be called a social media? I’d argue yes) is a totally different person than a Twitterer/Beboer. I’ll delve into that argument later on. DS.

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3 thoughts on “It’s not what we do, it’s who we are.

  1. Some people follow you because they know you are an honest, talented, insightful, interesting, yet sane bloke. Who really can't be that easily categorized, despite that format developer tag you sometimes use – not taking yourself too seriously and avoiding sales spiels are always a plus – course it helps if we've been fortunate enough to meet in the meataverse. The irony is, being 'REAL' is what makes people successful in cyberspace.

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