You didn’t know that I’m a baritone?

We’ve never worked with Bright Beehive before, but thanks to all sorts of media opportunities, I feel as though I already have a good impression of their mindset. One of our senior managers introduced to me to the company after some conversation around social media policies. Although we have been experimenting with social media in many different respects, we haven’t established a policy or strategy to accompany our work. It remains a challenging field in which to engage.

I have been writing my blog periodically now for some months with varying levels of success and commitment, it has to be said! Before meeting Nick, he had already taken a look at my blog and posted some thought provoking comments in response to my writing. How extraordinary this would have been to anyone ten years ago. I haven’t met Nick, nor his colleagues, yet we are already engaged in intermittent conversation without having met, or spoken.

Through twitter, I had already made contact with Cormac. He knew who I was, and I had a good impressions of who he is, thanks to both of us communicating and writing online whenever we have the opportunity. I kew that Cormac plays the banjo. I knew that his wife is expecting their first child, and they bumped into Robert downey Jr in London recently.

It was at the Digital Futures conference at Ravensbourne College in London where I first met Cormac in person. Having edged my way into a conversation between him and an FE media teacher, I introduced myself. Cormac immediately knew who I was. And then he commented ‘you know when you have an impression someone that you have encountered online, and then when you meet them, something doesn’t meet your expectations?’. I replied with something l like. ‘Erm… Yes?’. Cormac continued ‘your voice is really deep. I didn’t expect you to have such a deep voice from the impression I had already established in my mind. Did you know you are a baritone?’. Nope, I didn’t know that. But Cormac had illustrated an important aspect of social media and online presence, and the impression it creates.

Compare the impression anyone might have concluded for themselves having made contact with you online – directly, or otherwise, and perhaps anonymously. They might know what you look like. They might also hear about some of the things you do – both professionally and personally. However, what do they know of your values? What of your opinions? Your religious or ethical beliefs? You might reveal some, or all of these through your online presence. Your online peers will also be using what they know to form their own judgements about you. The impression you make online may not reflect your true self, but may be a strong influence on how others form their opinions about you – whether you know them already, or not.