Personal Branding, Social Media and Your FutureApr 26, 2011
Social media is a powerful tool use can use to express your personal brand for many purposes ranging from finding new business to new friends to finding your next job. Social media can also reveal aspects of who you are that harm your personal brand, reputation, career and job prospects. It's important to live your life in congruence with your values and personal brand.
Take, for instance, the story of Scots Guardsman Cameron Reilly (Scots Guard removed from Royal Wedding duty for making vile slurs against Kate Middleton) Mr. Reilly was schedule to be one of the guards line the route of the royal wedding procession. No more, thanks to his Facebook posts.
Mr. Reilly went from relative anonymity to global fame almost overnight. Many of his transgressions, which you can read in the article, would probably have remained unknown, except for the fact he started posting derogatory comments about the future princess on his Facebook page, calling into question his professionalism and his ability to do his job. As reporters started to investigate him further they found his further prejudicial rants. Given his position it is difficult to see how the British military would allow him to remain in his position and might in fact see him as more of a security threat.
Perhaps you've been in or currently are in a similar position - working in a job that is not in alignment with who you are. The question now for Mr. Reilly, and perhaps you, is "What's next?" Is there a position that is more in keeping with his view points and experiences? Can he turn this situation into something that will set him on a better career path for him?
While Mr. Reilly's situation is certainly highly visible, we all face similar choices all of the time. From the initial question of "should you feel slighted or insulted" to deciding whether you want to post your frustrations on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere.
In order for you to have an effective personal brand you need to behave consistently throughout all aspects of your life. Mr. Reilly's position and his views were not in congruence. It's no wonder he felt frustration and wanted to express it. Do you feel the same way about your current employer? Do you feel you are in a situation that "isn't fair"? Do you feel your interests are aligned with your employer's interests?
The question of personal branding here goes deeper than just the mechanics of what you should post or not post. It's about who you genuinely are and choose to be. Mr. Reilly was choosing to express himself, and that is admirable. The deeper question is, "Did he express the true Mr. Reilly?" And if so, what is a more appropriate career for him?
Rather than judge Mr. Reilly, what can you take away from his situation and apply in your life? What aspects of your career are similar? What can you be doing differently? Who can help you get to a better place?
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