Who Do You Want to Be Today?

“What type of personality should I have online?” A client recently asked me.
“What makes you ask that question?” I responded.
“Well my neighbor is a big time computer guy, and he stressed that I need to be careful in deciding what type of an online persona I wanted to create.”
“The question isn’t really something you need to worry about.” I explained.
“Why not?” she asked curiously.
“Look, the only thing you can possibly be GREAT at online, is yourself.”

How are you perceived online? Do you tweet too much? Do your blog topics diverge from the site’s stated purpose? Are you constantly worrying, “what will people think if I take such a controversial stance?” We have a finite amount of creativity and personality, and our best shot at attracting long term clients is by being ourselves, and the like minded individuals will follow us. I’m not saying you have carte blanc to write anything you like, but you certainly shouldn’t lose sleep over it.

Conan O’brien was asked, when he was visiting the University at Buffalo, if he was going to tone down his comedy once he took over for Jay Leno. He basically responded by saying that being funny is really really hard. He explained there is a reason NBC hasn’t put together a really funny show since Seinfeld- it is very challenging. He ended by saying that he was going to keep being himself, because being funny was hard enough without adding restrictions. Blogging and tweeting are similar, creating good content isn’t easy- especially if you limit yourself.

I received a direct message on Twitter a few days ago that said basically the following:

“I follow you for law updates, but you don’t tweet about the law much. If u are going to tweet about football, u should create a different profile.”

I looked at this individual’s Twitter profile, and big surprise- they were only following 10 people total. He was obviously a new Twitter user that hadn’t discovered the Tweetdeck. More importantly though, he might NOT want to follow me. My tweets aren’t all law related. To help all my followers make an educated decision if the would like to follow me, I have created a breakdown informally of my tweets:

Law Related Tweets – 35 % terrell-owens-buffalo-bills
Conversations with Twitter Friends – 25%
Social Media Related Tweets – 15%
Tweets promoting my new posts – 10%
Football Related Tweets – 5%
Buffalo Related Tweets – 3%
Travel Twit pics – 2%
Palm Pre Tweets – 2%
Harrassing @ginidietrich and @sarahrobinson – 1%
Trying to get TO (terrellowens81) to respond — .5%
Retweeteing lolcats – .3%
Battlestar Galactica Tweets – .2%


You get the picture. If lolcats either offend or disturb you, you may not want to follow me. If reading a ten word football related message rubs you the wrong way, go ahead and unfollow me.
When the inspiration hits me, I write. When boredom hits me, I tweet. When I see something I think is awesome, I pass it along. Am I doing it right? I don’t know, but I don’t think I’d be much good at blogging or tweeting any other way besides simply being myself.

Adrian Dayton, esq is the author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition, a step-by-step guide for professionals interested in using social media to bring in business.  You can get a free copy HERE.


7 Responses to “Who Do You Want to Be Today?”

  1. “Dayton” great thoughts. I think more people need to ask “How are you perceived online?” I am of the Village that says people often put them selves out there in a way that they never intend to be seen as.

    Keep up the good the good work.


  2. Justin,

    I definitely think is important to ask the question (Who do we want to be?), and if we are a jerk or immature in real life- then it certainly doesn’t make sense to put ourselves out there in that light even if it is authentic. I guess I just see so many people scared to blog or talk online for fear that somebody won’t approve of what they have to say.

  3. Kirby says:

    Great comments about tweetdeck. I had to use it on you while you tweeted alot about some event you were at. While I agree that you follow people for certain reason, we have to understand they have alot of interest and *gasp* some you might not enjoy. I imagine that if I ever get a real following people will mute me during my barrage of tweets during Blizzcon or a release of my program.

  4. Great post. I agree with you. I have had people stop following me because i didn’t talk enough about jazz — my profile used to be @jazzlifejunkie but I changed it to @kevinvandever so that I could be my complete self and not just my jazz self. I don’t really tweet much about my IT profession. I may increase that, but for now I am here to engage in the community as myself and I am meeting some very cool peopls and having lots of fun in the process.

    One suggestion for you: increase your percentage of @ginidietrich harassment tweets.


    • You know people are so focused on building a “brand” with your persona, and while that is important, it is also expected that you will be a REAL person. Blurring the lines between personal and professional is part of the power in social media. Helps us make connections that we never would have otherwise.

  5. Sigh…at least I’m in good company with Sarah!

    Just yesterday someone asked me this question, in terms of when it’s okay to tweet about yourself. I told her I have the 60/40 rule. Sixty percent of your tweets should be RTs, blogs, articles, news items, or propping up others. Forty percent of your tweets can be self-serving, as long as it’s good content.


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