Working out what to share online is tricky especially when we want to have a recognisable voice in the world.
I’m firmly of the belief that we should share something of ourselves because it’s how we become real for people who haven’t met us. It’s how we move beyond the dot points of our resume.
But there are hazards.
What if I get it wrong and upset people?
Justine Sacco upset people – a LOT of people – in 2013 with a single tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
By the time Sacco touched down in South Africa, her tweet had gone viral, and the globally trending hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet tracked the public’s movement from outrage to glee at the prospect of seeing her life in ruins. Her employer, IAC, fired her the next day. The Washington Post, 24 February 2015
What if I expose a part of myself that’s not acceptable?
When I wrote about grief after my mum died this year (On Grief and Growth), people said I was brave.
They said it again when I wrote about a rain cloud of sadness that had appeared over me.
My experience of sharing was positive; Justine Sacco’s was entirely the opposite.
It comes down to being conscious about communication, whatever form it takes.
We need to understand the implications of what we broadcast to the world (and trust me, social media IS the new broadcasting, open – scarily – to anyone).
Justine had less than two hundred followers on Twitter and obviously didn’t consider the potential reach of her audience’s audience. She’s admitted that, as a corporate communications executive, she should have known better.
Communication, whatever form it takes, is most effective when we are conscious of all aspects.
Why are we doing it?
Who could it reach?
And most importantly, what does it say about us?
I get a little nervous but I’m willing to be courageous when it comes to sharing my journey as a writer and communicator.
Dealing with the loss of my mum has given me a new perspective on myself and on life – sharing that makes sense for me.
I see it as creative courage. I want to encourage others to be real and brave so I see it as an essential part of my voice. It’s part of what I want to be known for.
If you’re struggling with what to share and what not to share, that might be a good guiding question:
What do you want to be known for?