Footprints in the snow

We have all witnessed a most terrible winter and it is not over.

Looking outside the other day, I could see the footprints of various animals walking into the wooded area behind my house. 

Footprints in the snow.

Later that same day, I heard a news report about a town that had a series of car break-ins (not my neighborhood).  The police tracked the footprints to a neighbor that lived in the neighborhood.  The footprints in the snow led them directly to the culprit.

This brings me to my topic this month.  Social media and the footprints that it leaves are unlike snow, which will eventually melt away and remove all traces of your path.  The footprints on the internet will follow you forever.

Social Media and African-American Professionals

I recently came across an article titled: “Black Twitter: Trending Topics Paint the Wrong Picture.”  The article stated that black folks make up 25% of twitter users.  One of the great features of twitter is that you can instantaneously see what topics are trending.  In other words what are the most important things that are being talked about at that given time? 

This article states that the trending topics on any given day in our group reflect hateful, stereotypical and misogynistic messages.  “Are we using our large social networking presence to do more harm than good?” You will have to read the article to see some of what the author described as “ignorant territory. “

While reading this article I just shook my head in disgust.  The internet and all its capabilities allow users to have at their fingertips the ability to harness knowledge, connect with people all over the world.  The internet is like having access to your own public library or building a club of people with like minded interest whether professional or personal.

I use Twitter to tweet articles that concern my industry and interest.  I connect with people in the human resources/talent management field.  At last count I am nearing 1500 followers.  I always keep it industry focused.  My rule is to follow only people within my industry but sometimes I will follow someone back if their bio is interesting.  I am trying to create a brand.

If after reading the above referenced article and you have posted some of these type tweets, it is time for you to think about your brand and what it says about you.

Creating a brand

I am a power user of Twitter and LinkedinFacebook, I use it mainly as a professional site, although I do have a personal page.

I know the power of social media if it used correctly.  By strategically building my brand, I have derived benefits that I would have never been exposed to if I were not using and harnessing the power of social media.

During the previous year, I have been able to harness the following opportunities:

  • Interviews with major business periodicals
  • Book deal on Onboarding from McGraw Hill
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Consulting opportunities
  • Quoted throughout the HR/Talent Management Industry.
  • Being branded as a “thought leaders” in the HR space.

This is all because I took the time to build the “correct” footprints.

If you are career focused, whether employed or not, you must take a look at what and where you are headed.  Social media can give you the added boost that you need.

I have a personal bias between Social Media sites.  The value/potential of LinkedIn is higher than any of the other sites.  This is a professional networking site.  However this is the site that we ignore at our own peril.  Recruiters today begin 85% of their job searches on it.

I often check out people’s page on LinkedIn and it basically was just put there and left unattended.  What you find is: minimal amounts of information, minimal contacts, and no real bio.   But god forbid they get laid off; they are on it every day trying to play catch up.

Check your footprint

Twitter

How many people in your industry are you connected to? How many professional articles have you tweeted?  Does your bio state your career or your aspirations (public relations, marketing, finance professional etc.)   If everyone in your connections looks just like you, you have not maximized this tool. If need be,  create a professional profile and please stay away from the territory that the article states. 

LinkedIn.

Here is a quick test for you.  Let’s just say that I am a recruiter looking for someone in your job field.  I go to advance search.  I type in key words to search by.  In my case that would be talent management.  I choose the city and click on search.  If you do not see your name, keep clicking through to find out where you are located.  If you are not on the first few pages, forget about it, no one will ever find you.  By the way, if you search by talent management in the city of New York, guess who comes up in the first slot.

Facebook

This site puzzles me from time to time. On my personal site, I am connected with friends.  I post basically family pictures.  But here is where the difference is.  I post only articles that I have written and give professional updates such as where I might be speaking, upcoming interviews etc..  I do not do games and give you a status of what I just ate.

I had this validated by a friend who recently posted on my wall “You have really showed me a new way to utilize facebook”  I had another post that said, “ I print out all your articles and share with managers at my job.  Again, I am working on creating my brand.

Vizibility

If you want to check out your footprint on Google, there is a site called visibility.  This is important because recruiters today are going to Google you depending on the level of job you are looking for.  This site will allow you to do a professional search on your name and keywords to see what is out there.  Try it and you will be surprised or maybe not as to what comes up if someone were to Google your name.  I use this site at least once a week to see how my name comes up.  Last week, I came across a noted French-based Management site called LeJournaluduNet that had quoted one of my interviews that I recently did with the Wall St. Journal.  That was a great find.

In a few weeks or months the evidence of snow will be long gone.  There will be no footprints anywhere.  But on social media, it will be there in perpetuity.

 Create the brand that will be powerful and says exactly who you are.  Your career depends on it.

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