This Internet Life: Consider Who You Want to Be Online

As the presidential election season heats up for America, I’m being reminded once again what complete and utter assholes you can all be when you’re running your mouths completely out of control.  It’s one thing to do this on your personal social media that you have locked down and only your friends and family (God help them) can see.

It’s quite another to do it in full view of your adoring fans and potential clients.

I’m not saying you can’t make political statements and be a successful social media giant, or that you can’t even have a very strong political thread going through your social media branding.  What I am saying is that before dropping a sudden political bias where one never existed before, you need to consider who you want to be online.

You Can Be Anyone Online

On the Internet, you can be anyone you like.  That’s both a blessing and a curse.  For person to person communication, it can create trust issues, but when you’re acting as a business, like a writer who’s providing professional services, THE TRUTH and “the truth” are very different things.  You don’t have to bear your soul to the followers of the social media account you’re using for branding — in fact, it’s better that you don’t.  Obviously, you need to do something to be a bit human, but you can be human and not infuriate everyone you can find at the same time.

I think it’s really important that people follow you because they want to read your blogs and use your services, not because they want to troll you or try to bait you into saying something that might hurt your business.  Call me crazy, but there’s a line where TMI is truly too much information.  As a business, it’s absolutely vital that you figure out what your persona is — who you are — online before you begin to establish your social media branding in order to avoid that TMI zone.

I know it’s tempting to share political or current hot-button news items, but if that’s not part of your current branding, trust me on this — you’re doing far more damage to your image than you can imagine.  Think about it this way: if your plumber suddenly started sharing memes that you found incredibly offensive, wouldn’t you think twice about doing business with him?  It’s the same sort of thing.  Always remember that all eyes are on you, that your social media branding is actively in force when you log into Facebook or Twitter or SnapChat, and what you do can’t be unseen.

Different Types of Branding

You might have gotten the impression that I don’t believe in niche branding.  That’s not the case at all.  In fact, I fucking embrace niche branding.  You fucking niche yourself out, bitch.  Niche it up.  But you  shouldn’t be approaching a niche willy-nilly.  Know that niche inside and out.  It’s a little bit like knowing a fiction character.  Before you post a thing, you should know how your niche is going to react.

If your niche is, for example, made up of fans of a particular hardcore Conservative political candidate, then there’s probably no problem with posting a video of his recent speech.  However, if you happen to know that your vegan niche is also filled with people who are adamantly opposed to the same Cheetos-colored candidate, posting that same video is only going to end in flames.  I don’t care what your point might have been, you were totally off track.


Your business is about llama herding or selling raincoats or duck burglary… so keep it relevant.  Keep your social media tied to what matters to your audience so they’ll keep coming back for more.  The goal is fan and customer retention, not customer repulsion.

If you’re in doubt about your online image and your audience, take some time to write up a description of your social media account and who it represents.  What does it stand for?  What is your goal for social media?  How can you best achieve this?  What type of posts will attract the people that you need to help with your goal?  What posts will keep them coming back and growing your business?

You can be anybody online.  But when you’re a business, even if that business is being a blogger or an Internet personality, the key is to be consistent.  If you’re a professional asshole — fine — continue to stick it to your visitors.  But if you’re usually a Tupperware salesman, FOR FUCK’S SAKE BE A TUPPERWARE SALESMAN.

… and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

If you’re having trouble crafting your online persona, there’s no time like today to fix that shit.  I’m here to help, but only if you’ve got cash.  Email me at and we’ll sort your fucking business out.