As I work to improve my online social identity, it occurs to me that several expressions and guidelines that I embrace are applicable, and as evidenced by the title, somewhat humorous at times.
Not my monkeys, not my circus!
I try to cultivate relationships with people and organizations that will help to improve and amplify my knowledge, awareness and growth. I approach social engagement in the same manner. This means that it is important to go back and look at my network to ensure that, in its entirety, it speaks to the passions and direction that I genuinely hope to represent. At times, it is necessary to cull the herd or redraw the boundaries of my network, which leads me back to the monkeys and circus!
A cup of sugar and a kind word
A mentor of mine speaks these words about once a year reminding me that people respond more positively to a softer touch. In social business, this notion remains true. I try to be cognizant of the content shared and the reasons for interactions with my network. I look to develop rapport and advocate for connections through activities such as providing endorsements and recommendations, sharing relevant information and building bridges to and across connections. These simple acts of digital kindness lead to stronger professional and personal ties.
Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are
The words spoken by my 95 year old grandmother – one of the Greatest Generation and a World War II nurse – have stuck in my head since I was young. The application of this expression to social is easy to understand, but challenging to manage. With the influx of unrequested follows on Twitter, connection requests on LinkedIn, Facebook and RallyPoint, and likes on places such as Instagram, ensuring that my network reflects who I am is a task in and of itself. So, back to the monkeys and circus, a little network maintenance and review can go a long way.
Three Rules of Thumb
A general set of guidelines that I have tried to keep front of mind since my college days are the Three Rules of Thumb from West Point. These rules are:
Does this action attempt to deceive anyone or allow anyone to be deceived?
Does this action gain or allow the gain of privilege or advantage to which I or someone else would not otherwise be entitled?
Would I be dissatisfied by the outcome if I were on the receiving end of this action?
As I seek to engage with, advocate for and influence the right people, events and conversations across my network, I try to remember that using good judgment is important. My online social identity not only speaks on behalf of my individual brand, but also reflects on the corporate identities, people and affiliations with which I am associated.
By keeping these expressions and guidelines top of mind as I grow and maintain my social profile, I know that I will positively contribute and add value to my network while never being a detractor - the monkey in the circus.