So if you read my tweets after about 7.30 on any given night, you’ll know I have an unhealthy appetite for reality TV. If you follow me for a 6 week period over June and July during State of Origin, you’ll know I tend to get very vocal about the game.
I’ll pass judgement on contestants or the other team, because that’s what any supporter would do, and there is a conversation to be part of.
Through all of it though, fired up passion is tempered and guided by what I have deemed my personal social media tone of voice guidelines.
Why is this kind of guideline important?
Those of us who manage corporate social media know the importance of a tone of voice guideline for a brand, one that embodies the spirit and matches the impression we want people to have of the work that gets done.
So why should your personal use be any different?
Every day, your digital footprint is getting bigger, and more of that content is being captured and indexed for all to see. If you’re trying to build a name for yourself, in any industry, this is something you need to be conscious of. Employers are increasingly using social to screen candidates – what will they find when they look at yours?
I’m not talking about a formal document, just a set of guiding principles. For a lot of the time, and I am sure for a lot of people, this is second nature.
My Rules of the Road
There are always considerations before I post anything.
Is what I am about to post likely to offend, or create debate? If it’s the former, why do I need to post it? If it’s the latter, am I willing to engage in the conversation and back it up?
Are there any commercial arrangements with my employer that I need to be aware of? As I have spoken about before, disclaiming your opinions as independent of your employer can mean little, and shouldn’t be used to abdicate responsibility for your actions.
Two smaller considerations – with the exception of Facebook, nothing featuring kids or family. And I never swear on social – it adds nothing, and uses up characters…
Does this take away from your being genuine, being one of the key tenants of social? Absolutely not. You can still be genuine on social media without having to post everything that pops into your head.
It’s Still You
Regardless of what sort of guidelines you have for yourself, it still has to be you. Think about it as aspects of your personality.
I am very deliberate in how I use the channels I am across, and the narrow choice of channels I use makes it easy:
Facebook – A place to be myself. These people know me, they’re friends and family. Privacy settings mean I can disagree and debate, and talk about the things that they expect me to talk about, and perhaps be a little more free and easy than I would be on Twitter.
Twitter – Here, I share my thoughts on a variety of things, posts I find interesting, replies to people I agree or disagree with (guided by the above), and being part of the conversation about things taking place. There’s probably more consideration here about what I post than anywhere else.
LinkedIn – purely professional, here I post stories and links that are all business and represent points of view I think are worthy of sharing. It’s about giving those who follow my updates an insight into how I think business wise.
So that’s it – as I said, it’s not a formal, written policy, as a corporate TOV may be. But it’s no less important to your personal brand to be guided by some principles.
What about you? Do you consider how and what you post in line with beliefs or a tone of voice guideline?
This post was featured in my SlideShare – 6 Steps to Better Twitter Citizenship
PHOTO – Dwayne via Flickr