I can't help but think of the impact social media has had on both the professional and personal lives of multimedia talent. It's created a two-way 24/7 stream directly with the audience that never existed, especially in the broadcast news industry. What used to be a one-way push of carefully orchestrated content is now a fluid real time exchange and mostly without filter, in both directions.
We have been conditioned to change the way we manage our image and brand from the authentic inside-out to a more calculated and manufactured outside-in. We live for the audience approval and instant gratification we receive from the 'follows' 'likes' and 'retweets'.
Then there are those mostly anonymous voices that have a very small and limited audience via their own social media feeds. Many times they are downright nasty and very mean spirited. Directed mostly at women they often come from other women. There is no gender bias when it comes to the source and content. It is painful to watch these hateful messages A) get attached to talented and hard working multimedia talent, and B) get the broad media distribution that comes when we respond to them.
Although I'm not a fan of responding to these often faceless attacks, I do understand why we respond the way we do. When it comes to social media we have a flight or fight mentality. Some ignore it and move on. Some need social vindication and confirmation. Some react with Newton's Law "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".
Either way, my biggest concern as a consultant, coach, and mentor is that we are getting deeper and deeper into managing our professional lives from the outside-in and not the inside-out. I believe there are five dangers we face when we begin to live outside-in:
1. We begin to live essentially in fear of the approval of others and with fear comes doubt. We can become paralytic instead of a bias toward action and opportunity.
2. When we react, especially without filter, that content lives for.ever. As soon as the first person screen caps, maybe not even the entire message, maybe it's highly edited, it will live in that context forever in a digital world.
3. We let others direct and manage our brand. We essentially begin crafting a brand to the approval of others and it's not likely to be the authentic you. Authenticity is a critical element to a strong and timeless personal brand.
4. There is a cumulative effect on where we go and where we end up. Think of your brand as a road map. Each time we take a fork that is not authentic we end up further and further from the sweet spot of our brand. We have lost control of our destination.
5. You will NEVER find the place you are yearning for. You will never be satisfied or fulfilled.
When we begin to live outside-in we allow others to dictate the structure and equity of our personal brands. Trust the authentic you and resist the temptation to give others your hard earned platform especially with a unfiltered reaction that forever changes the course of your image and brand.
About Mike McNamara:
Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.
Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile business and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.
Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.