“No matter what happens, always be yourself.” -Dale Carnegie
In this age of identity theft and hacking fears, it’s understandable to want to protect your digital identity, and being careful and mindful of passwords is wise, but not saying who you are is going way too far. In my opinion, in the publishing and social world, there’s one thing that hurts you way more than helps you—not having your name and basic personal contact information easily accessible.
What you stand for is naturally wrapped up in who you actually are.
Twitter is such a great communication tool, yet there are still way too many people that don’t make it easy to communicate with them. Specifically, they don’t provide their names in their profile. That’s such a mistake from a credibility standpoint! Many claim, or even believe, they are protecting their privacy, but the “bad” guys will find them easily if they want… it’s those of us with good intentions who may not be willing to do what it takes to find out.
If you truly want people to connect with you, and you with them, let them know who you are, the city you live in, and your name… PLEASE, your name. I also strongly suggest making it easy to find your email address and telephone number, yes, telephone number. I promise… people will not call you unnecessarily. Hey, I give my phone number out on stage and via Twitter and rarely, if ever, get an irrelevant or unwanted call. Most people are afraid of the phone these days anyway, but that brand or person who wants to reach you with immediacy will be that much more apt to do so if you make it easy.
Don’t Frustrate, Facilitate.
Those of us who want to get to know you better… followers, friends, fans, and most importantly marketers, brands and agencies, get frustrated when you make us “work” to identify you as a real person. Also, Dale Carnegie’s advice in his book How to Make Friends and Influence People is more important and timely now than ever… people love to be called by their name! In my opinion, it works just as importantly in reverse… people feel good, closer, and more connected when they can call you by name. It makes it so much easier to reply to you, message you, and think about you, when people have a clue what to call you.
The same thing goes with using a photo on Twitter and in all your profiles. Put your face in there if at all possible, because here again, it makes people feel more comfortable and connected.
As with Twitter conversations, another communication block is when people comment on a blog post without a personal identity. I like to reply back with a first name at the very least, and I’m less inclined to want to respond when the poster looks anonymous.
If you’re using your social channel to log into a blog commentary system, or using something like disqus.com, please make sure the profile you use has your name (and a thumbnail photo) in it! This makes it so much easier to start a discussion and connect.
Similarly, if you own a blog, make sure you use your name as the author of your posts and not the “admin” default, or a pseudonym. No matter what your blog name is, people like to see human authors. And if you use guest bloggers, make sure you have author profiles set up for them too. This will encourage more people to respond to your posts, because they’re more inclined to respond to a person rather than an avatar, corporate/brand name or logo.
In short, for both Twitter and Blogging communication (and any social conversation for that matter), make it as easy as possible for readers to connect with you as a person. Hiding behind a name that’s not your own puts up a barrier that many are reluctant to dig through, and doesn’t do you any favors in the long run. I understand branding the name of your blog, but stand up and be the person behind that blog, not a mystery. You’ll develop more and better relationships, build a stronger personal brand, and be viewed as more authentic, when you approach publishing and social conversation openly.
I love this, Ted. Important information for us all. I had held off initially as my own comfort level grew with social media, and then slowly linked up my LinkedIn with my name and blogging world, and so on and so forth. Thanks for the insight.
My pleasure Andrea. Happy to hear you are all in 🙂
Great post Ted!
I totally agree with this, Ted, as long as you’re talking about adults. For kids who are blogging or creating an online presence, I don’t advocate using their real names. I find myself still concerned too much with security to give out my phone number or specific location, but I do agree that the days of not using your name are past.
Sure, different rules apply for kids, but I still totally believe in real names.
I will admit that it took me a LONG time to convince myself to move my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted site with my name on it.
I have a contact form, and I don’t mind giving out my primary email.
The phone number thing? Yeah, that one I’ll still have to think about. But thanks for the push! 🙂
My blog’s name is “Patrick’s Place,” and my Twitter and Facebook page match that for branding purposes. But the URL of my site is my name. “PatricksPlace.com” wasn’t available and hasn’t been for years.
Thanks for the feedback Patrick. Keep it real 🙂
People are always cautioning me when I put my cell phone number out there – but I really wouldn’t mind getting calls. No one has ever called me when I have done that. What I would prefer is a text message because I am more likely to respond, but that is beside the point. I am using social media to make connections and to help people. How can I do that if I am not accessible? Thank you for addressing this issue!
Calls are great Melissa, and truth be told most people never use the number, but you get recognized for making it available. You can always add a note that says you prefer text 🙂