Do You Exist Offline?

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06/12/2013 by chainrea

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There was a time when people didn’t have Facebook(!) or other social medias (yes I am that old).

People would rarely even do anything special on the internet. If they even would take the time to connect the modem for 20 minutes just to check a few websites that took forever to load.

So, then one day, things like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn started appearing.

Many started using them. But still it wasn’t widely spread.

Suddenly people found out that not only can you post stuff on these channels but you can also see what other people post about themselves. Neat.

Oh, and did you see that you can go in on someones profile and just read and observe and basically follow their every move? Not creepy, not creepy at all!

Ok, so this is suddenly a quite useful tool for “checking up on people” (as not to say stalk them).

Therethrough a little trend starts forming: People are being judged by how they present themselves. Nothing new, just applied to the new medium. You see, making a first impression is key right? For making new friends, contacts and even getting a job or new customers.

But suddenly that first impression wasn’t always based on your own personal live performance but rather on the image you were sporting online. Especially when it came down to being evaluated by a company for a job. It wasn’t enough to leave a CV and get an interview. No. They had to check you out online, who you were, who you hung out with, if you posted indecent pictures of yourself (many a toilet-room selfies have been judged through time) and so on.

Then, we have reached a time where people have grown accustomed to seeing things online on people’s profiles that would otherwise be considered “weird” or “improper”. I mean, people still get judged but at least there are other things that matter, not that you wrote about what coffee you had this morning.

However, not only have we become used to online usage of social media. We take it for granted.

In other words, we assume or expect people to have profiles on different social media platforms online. And if they don’t…how can they not?! That’s impossible! If you don’t exist online it’s like you don’t exist at all…right?

Unfortunately many, too many, seem to think this way. And yes, even I will say that it’s “true” to an extent. And it depends on the context of course. But we are talking about communicating and spreading information and how that is done more effectively and efficiently.

Well, my friend, my dear reader, if you don’t exist online then sure, you can improve on that aspect. BUT! WARNING! HEADS UP and all:

IT’S OK NOT TO EXIST ONLINE! Why, you ask? Because, if you don’t know why you exist online then there is not really a point to it.

Sure “any pr is good pr”, “it’s better to be known and hated than not to be known at all” people say. But you know what, it depends! It really does.

Say you want to be known, a fast way to do it is to cause a scandal or shock people, right? I mean for example: There are many good and well behaved flying companies (let’s not get into details, but let us assume this is true). Then when a company like Ryan Air arrives (pun) and lands (pun) a strong brand built on the fact that they treat their customers “badly”, by letting them pay extra for everything and travel to unknown airports and places, it becomes obvious that bad reputation works! Because it also builds what Ryan Air is all about: They provide cheap flights to their customers, hence they are stripped of all commodities to press down the prices. They treat them bad for their own good so to speak.

Now, I think this “bad reputation” plot was planned from the start. Which means that Yes, they should exist online and Yes, they should go for their strategy.

But, if you aim towards having a certain image and then create an online profile and start using these different channels and you don’t have a plan for it…What is the purpose? Because right now you are not doing a bad impression and you are not doing a good impression, you are basically doing no impression at all and it just costs you a lot of time and stress because there was no point to this to speak of.

It’s not necessary to have a Facebook if you only plan on writing about yourself to yourself, you could easily get a journal or a blog instead. Write diary all you want. And save it for the grandchildren or so…that’s really nice.

But, if you want to exist online, you have to start with existing offline!

That doesn’t mean that you have to be famous or have a big company to be able to get started with social media! It simply means that you should know what the purpose with getting social media is.

What is the goal? Why do you need it? And do you need it at all?

Is it to communicate with customers? Inform them? Ask them for their opinion? Give them free cake?

Is it to simply build your brand by being around and getting exposed to people? Do you really need all that attention?

Chances are that you should exist online and it’s good to be around where people can find you. But it’s as equally important to think it through and know how, when, where and why you need to exist online. (And if you don’t know, you can always turn to someone who can help you find out, such as myself *wink, wink*).

My humble opinion is that you should focus on what it is that you do and what you want to be known for. May it be that you build chairs and you want to be know for making really nice and amazing chairs. Then so be it. Thereafter you can transfer this to different channels. Whether they should be online or offline channels also depends of course but the answer lies within the question: Why? (What is the purpose of your online existence?).

And don’t forget, you may exist online, have many followers and likes and be known but the reason you are known is because of the things that you actually ‘do’. Actions speak louder than text-messages. So, I will say to you as my mentor said once to me:

Do good and interesting things. That’s how you get started on having something to communicate.

And while I still have you here: Don’t forget to put down your phone and computer at times and just enjoy your offline life too. Have a coffee, take a walk, and just…you know, don’t take a picture of it this time before you drink it and also keep the view to yourself. It’s equally special if not even more so that way. (But then it’s ok to show me that funny sign you read or the sunset you saw, cause let’s face it, sharing is fun too).

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