Hello, it’s nice to “e” you

27Mar09

There are so many ways to communicate electronically that we can avoid all personal contact unless we choose otherwise. It is possible to connect (or assume you are connecting) with hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people without ever speaking with them, much less looking them in eye.

Then there are the folks (we all know a few) who are not actually trying to connect, they are just loving the thrill of “celebretizing” themselves. What did they do with all their time before they became their own paparazzi? OK, that was a little harsh.

Texting, messaging, tweeting, twittering, blogging (hello!), social networking, personal websites, commenting on other’s websites or blogs, and plain old email and voicemail give individuals an unprecedented platform for self-promotion, networking and conveying a personal brand .

And despite all the cautions about what happens in cyberspace, staying in cyberspace, some people continue to electronically shoot themselves in the foot. The story about the Cisco  job offer is one of the latest examples flying around the web.

Thankfully, most of us won’t self-destruct. But that does not mean our electronic brand is working as well as it could for us. Being everywhere on the internet with an ineffective image is worse than being nowhere on the internet.

I don’t know about you, but managing my “real” brand and my e-brand is daunting.  So, I say start small.  First, how does your voicemail message represent you? I know a lot of people skip through the greeting when they call but not everyone skips it or skips all of it. What image does it convey? Suggestion: avoid having an assistant record it for you.

How does your email look and feel? Sharp? Cluttered? Do you have favorite sayings or cartoons as part of your signature? I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying be sure it supports the image you want to have at work – that it is a positive influence on the folks who are critical to your success.

Voicemail and email are the boring basics but they are still how customers, co-workers, and bosses most frequently encounter you electronically. Get those small things right as you develop your overall electronic brand strategy.

A search will bring up lots of great articles on voicemail and email (netiquette). I found one from the early days (1992) that was not only still relevant, but charming.  Check this one out  from Fast Company or go to my library for more links.

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