Dana Wollman, an editor at LAPTOP Magazine—a super sharp gal and all-around good person—and I had lunch a few months back when I shared my dismay at searching for an account coordinator to help the agency with research and social networking support. I was lamenting that the Internet is a double-edged sword for our candidates, because they’re in the field of online communications, yet seem to fall down a bit in, well, online communications. Our conversation worked its way into a story on how job hunters in particular need to manage their online reputations, which ran last month and is a great read if you haven’t yet seen it.
My expectation for sound writing and interesting points of view was (as many expectations are) perhaps higher than it should have been. I was basing the candidates’ qualifications for the position on the writing style in their personal blogs and the content of their social Web posts. Was that fair?
I began to beat myself up a bit, but couldn’t move away from the fact that the personal anecdotes I learned about these candidates left me a bit curious about their fit with Concept. I didn’t fret for long because I asked the question that serves me well when faced with ethical quandaries: “What would I do?” Sure, not the largest sample size, but I’m a decent judge of character, have managed my reputation well over the years, and am in the business of reputation management after all.
What I would do (and, in fact, do), is write for everyone. I assume that my clients are reading my Facebook updates (sorry, you must be bored out of your minds), that their customers are reading my Twitter posts (since I’m identified as the manager of their Twitter profiles), and that potential clients type “Samantha Steinwinder” into Google before calling to discuss a partnership. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time online, reading, writing and generally participating—for personal, business and even my clients’ business—my reputation is my lifeblood. And my reputation is also tied to that of my clients’. We’re interchangeable, with my voice representing their business, and vice versa. I love the book Trust Agentsby Chris Brogan and Julien Smith for the thoughtful tips on this client/customer reputation entanglement and how it should and can best be managed.
But that doesn’t mean I’m all business. I reveal openly that I am ridiculously in love with baseball and football, that my musical tastes can’t break out of the 70s, and that my children are my stars and moon but I still love my day job. I share what my friends, family, clients and even their customers might like to know or, at a minimum, won’t find objectionable or grammatically flawed.
I hope my “audiences” learn simply that I’m a decent writer, share my passions openly, love a good debate—and even more so, competition—and that I don’t offend my keyboard. All things that serve me well, yet tell you a bit more about my personal style. And, thankfully, what you won’t learn about me is what I had for lunch. Unless it’s dim sum. Sometimes I can’t help but talk about dim sum.