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There’s a never ending amount of posts out there on how to develop your personal brand; the topic seems like it’s been beaten to death. But nowadays, how you define your brand changes a lot quicker so there’s always something to learn.

It’s easy to develop who you are online when you’ve only been active in the space for a few years, like myself, but what about the younger generation that’s growing up with social media at their fingertips? Unless their parents are watching their every move online, and let’s face it many aren’t, kids are going online without thinking of the future.

I don’t expect a 13-year old to think about what his future employer will say about the things he posts, but as he grows older with the comfort of posting his life online, will it be common sense that he knows those drunken pictures or angry blog posts can easily be found, or will the same things need to be taught?

I got to thinking about this after reading a CBC.ca article about Nathalie Blanchard.

As the article points out, Nathalie is fighting with her insurance company to get her sick benefits back. It all had to do with Manulife finding Facebook pictures of her seemingly having fun at a party when she was on sick leave for major depression.

The pictures used to “catch” Natalie were apparently private, and photos like that are supposedly only findable if you know the direct link, even if it’s been deleted off of Facebook, according to the article.

Natalie’s pictures probably weren’t as bad as Manulife is making them out to be. This brings me back to my original point. If a teenager posts questionable photos of themselves but later realize they don’t want those photos out there, is it too late? That content is available long after they’ve been deleted, and could pop up anywhere.

Also, if a potential employer decided to research your online persona, and 45 per cent of them do, according to Harris Interactive, you should really avoid posting about how much you hate your boss or job; common sense really.

So for everyone untagging and deleting photos they don’t like, look out because they’ll always be there. And for those that may be comfortable with posting anything now, down the road your priorities could change and that content could come back to bite you.

wallflowerAfter reading Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, I knew it’d stick with me and I’d probably have a few posts coming out of it. Well here’s post number two:

According to Li and Bernoff, wallflowers (in this context people who read content but do not necessarily comment on it) make up a significant portion of the viewers to a site or specifically a blog like mine.  It’s taken me a while to appreciate the wallflower and what they bring to the table, but I think I’ve finally come around.

One of the reasons is thanks to the pretty extensive stats WordPress offers users. It shows my daily, weekly and monthly readers, as well as what links are clicked (one thing it doesn’t do is tell me if visitors are unique or how long they stick around).

I’m not naïve enough to think each visitor is a unique one and they’re all reading my content thoroughlly. However, if I’m seeing a lot of people come to my blog through my Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn links, then I know they’re there for a reason, and didn’t happen to stumble on my blog.

When those stats rise on any given day, it makes me happy to see traffic and hopefully people enjoying my content. This, along with my love of writing, is enough of a reason to keep going.

I respect you wallflowers and I hope you keep visiting!

I understand what it’s like to be a wallflower. For the longest time I hardly commented on blog postings. If I got far enough to actually write something, I’d erase it before clicking ‘post’ because I didn’t feel what I had to say mattered. The more I took part in the online world, the more I realized that commenting is just as important as writing my blog. Engaging in conversation is what all this is about and if you’re not commenting on other peoples’ blogs, what reason do they have to comment on yours?

To all wallflowers out there:

  • If you’re hesitant about posting something, don’t be.
  • If you get nervous that someone may think your comment isn’t worthwhile, don’t. That likely won’t be the case, and even if it was, there’s always someone out there who can take value from what you have to say, so say it.
  • If you disagree with what myself or someone else writes, by all means disagree! Discussion is what makes these things tick; if everyone agrees, what fun is that?

Looking forward to your comments!

As an assignment for my Online PR course at Centennial College, I worked with two classmates, Andrea Sluga and Kyla Drewette to create our podcast on Government & Social Media. Please enjoy our first foray into the world of podcasting for PR (click the link below to listen and/or download (if you use a mac you have to download it).):

Government & Social Media

Comments? Leave us a message here, and please drop by Andrea’s and Kyla’s blogs when you’re done listening.

On Three PR Students and a Mic: Sean Bailey and Kyla Drewette have a conversation with Mike Kujawski, a social media strategist for the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing, about government and its use of social media.

00:07: Sean and Kyla open the show.

00:18: Kyla introduces Mike Kujawski and the topic discussion.

00:33 Sean throws to their conversation with Mike at PodCamp Toronto 2009.

00:43 Mike discusses his educational background and explains it was his university marketing professor, Jim Mintz (former director of Health Canada), that got him started in his social media marketing career.

02:37 Mike defines the term “social media marketing” as an ongoing process that involves the audience in all stages of that process.

04:13 Sean talks to Mike about his involvement in emerging social media government campaigns. Mike mentions his priorities with government clients are to give them a basic awareness of social media tools and provide them with hands-on training.

06:26 Kyla and Mike chat about the major hurdle Mike has faced in implementing social media marketing campaigns: the official languages act!

07:24 Sean asks Mike about what initiatives he has on the go currently.

08:39 Mike mentions that he is currently working with Lee LeFever, of the “RSS in Plain EnglishYouTube videos, to develop a emergency kit video for his latest client, Public Safety Canada.

09:46 Mike and Sean agree the use of social media tools in government campaigns is a great way for officials to be cost-effective while still engaging the general public.

10:12 Mike explains to Kyla how social media marketing campaigns target audiences.

11:46 Sean learns from Mike that convincing government officials to use social media marketing in their campaigns is easy, thanks to user statistics on popular sites, such as Facebook and YouTube.

12:22 Kyla discovers that Mike’s first social media marketing campaign was with Canadian Heritage almost five years ago.

12: 40 Mike explains his reasons for starting the government’s own best practices wiki.

13:35 Kyla and Sean learn the main purpose of the government wiki is to break down the silos to create a central information source that everyone can easily access and use.

14:25 Kyla tells Mike she enjoys being able to access the government wiki too because she likes to know what is going on with the different levels of government.

14:32 Mike concludes that secondary audiences are a big part of the reason for creating the government wiki. He shares that he enjoys being a part of the creation process, sharing information with the world via the Internet and building his credibility in this way.

15:28 Sean and Kyla thank Mike for the discussion.

15: 35 Kyla and Sean close the show by thanking the listeners, Mike Kujawski and Andrea Sluga, the show’s producer.

This week’s theme music is Talk by Coldplay from their X & Y album.

This week’s episode was produced by Andrea Sluga.

Please feel free to check out the visual of Mike’s session on Government 2.0 at PodCamp Toronto.


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I now blog at inseansopinion.com full time. Please visit me there for movie and book reviews as well as any other commentary that comes to mind.

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