I was speaking on a panel at a local Social Media Club meeting yesterday and a question about “how much should we disclose on line” came up. The person asking was interested in where the line is between being yourself and touting the company line.
The answer for me was rather simple; Who pays the bill?
That is not the popular answer among social media purists, enthusiasts or even people with some common sense. We’ve all become pretty good at seeing when we’re being shoveled a load of marketing crap. Nonetheless, if it is the company’s official line that the official line be communicated through the social media channels and you are the social media person, that is what you do. And try to change things internally. Or look for another job.
Companies, products and services have brands.
Individuals have reputations.
Online entities have characters.
As a person, you are not your online self. Online, you are a character of yourself. How much you choose to borrow from your real-life self to create your character is your choice. Some people choose to borrow everything, while other people choose to borrow only one facet of themselves. Still others choose to borrow many facets and create many different characters of themselves.
People do not have brands. People have reputations they lend to a company, product or service to help shape its brand.