I got a new laptop this week to replace one that has been a trusty friend but which has seen better days. At the request of my five-year-old daughter, I have now fitted out the old machine with accounts for her and my son so that they can mostly watch cbeebies iplayer and print out paper that they can then colour in and glitter then add to the mounds of ‘makes’ already taking over our living room.
My little girl already has a bit of experience with computers, both at school and at home, but having recently seen some information about teenagers using the web for research and unable to judge what is and isn’t factual versus opinion or propaganda, I felt it was time to have a chat about responsible use of the internet and how things might not always be as trustworthy as they seem.
It seems our lovely headteacher had got there before me; I had barely started when little girl gave me a full account of a school assembly where he had demonstrated with the help of a couple of other teachers that emails may not always be from who they say they are, as he swapped emails supposedly with another teacher who was in the same room and away from a computer at the time.
Trust and confidence are major online issues, and users make instant decisions about what sites, authors, brands they can trust online and want to do business with, based on appearances and evidence they see before them.
If you are setting up online and therefore need to present your or your business brand to current and potential customers, one thing to consider is how much of your personality you channel into presenting your business online.
There are so many different approaches, for big or small companies, but presenting yourself with added personality can help to add authenticity and a point of difference to your online brand.
Writing in your blog in particular, you can demonstrate with stories how your background and your writing ability enhance your offering; it can give more depth to what you are presenting, and can give insights into how you work behind the scenes, which can build on your abilities and give an insight as to how you do business and what your values are. Your personal views, opinions and expertise can all help you present the value your business adds, especially if you are a small company which is reliant on your own expertise.
But how much is too much sharing? A recent study reported that 85% Of Women Are Annoyed By Most Facebook Friends, as the tone, amount and nature of comments were out of sync with what they wanted to see on a social site. One of the top irritations was over-posting, as women shared too much information with each other; and in a world where business is increasingly becoming blurred with personal the same risks are inherent in a business blog, tweets or posts that mingle business with more personal updates.
A business blog is a key part of your brand, but keeping a careful personal mix in there can add value and insight into who you are and how you do business; the amount and nature of what you share will depend on what is appropriate for your business, your comfort factor in sharing, and your personality.
How much personal information do you feel comfortable in sharing online? And does not sharing make you less authentic and less credible? I would love to hear what you think, let me know in the comments below.