Have you ever met one of your heroes, and found out that they weren’t what you were expecting?
I have. Once, I met the Backstreet Boys. Totally exciting. Except not. They were late, slightly rude, and sort of dirty. So now every time I hear their songs, it’s tinged with that memory of the disappointing in-face meeting.
While my Backstreet Boys meeting crushed my personal dreams of marrying Nick Carter (I wouldn’t even have to change my last name!), the same issue can have serious repercussions in the business world. Some people are fantastic on social media–helpful, funny, humble, grateful, and full of great content. But when you meet those same folks in the flesh, they can come off as rude, arrogant, brash, and downright unpleasant. From then on, all of their content can take on a nasty tinge by association, tainting otherwise great information.
While you can’t save everyone from themselves, you can make sure your online and offline personas work in harmony. This isn’t to say that you have to fake being sunshine and light in person, nor to say you should cuss like a sailor on social media. Be true to yourself: if you’re sarcastic in real life, it’s okay to be sarcastic online. Just look at Robby Slaughter for proof that it works.
Ultimately, if you’re a fake in any arena of life, you’ll ultimately be found out. But when one area of your life is seriously hurt by your behavior in another, it’s time to re-evaluate and make sure that you’re acting appropriately online and off.