Be Yourself

When I was little, I always felt an overwhelming desire to volunteer for all manner of public performance. In grade 2, I fenangled my way ahead of all the other girls in class to become one of two children chosen for a book reading tv show. Doesn’t that have you on the edge of your seat? The show had a host who read and then asked the kids what they thought. Coming from a family of voracious readers,  I had a lot to say. Later, when it aired, I remember my brothers in stitches making fun of me. I grew another layer of hide and dismissed them in my mind as philistines.

I was also one to go out for church spectacles. I couldn’t understand why no one wanted to stand up at the front of the church with a microphone and be the MC for the grade 5 church event? I sure did. Because, in my mind, I was of course a big star.

Before these events however, I would feel like barfing and some adult would say to me: Just be yourself.

The reason I am writing about this is because I have been asked to talk about creating content for social media channels to various business’ and specifically, to address the idea of authenticity. You’ll see that word everywhere these days, on your iPad, okay, maybe not yet but soon, and everyone who is a little scared about social media is saying to themselves, what in hell are they talking about? What does being authentic mean in relation to business?

What it means, quite simply is: be yourself. Be yourself. What’s the big deal about that you ask? Well, think back to your dad’s time, and if he was a business man and compare that to the entrepreneurs of today. The web is like the great wild west right now and there are some trailblazers who are setting a new standard of business communication, one that your ‘dad’ might think is sloppy, amateur, unprofessional, and doomed for failure.

I would argue that these trailblazers are saviours, that they are what the world is in desperate need of because they are actually that old-fashioned parent or teacher in the wings saying to you: Just be yourself. I am thankful they have arrived. I am ecstatic they are taking over the web. And I am thrilled my artistic son will have a future where he can be himself and not feel like a slacker failure because he draws pictures and is in a media program over a science program.

If you’re wondering who some of these oh-so-inspiring characters are, I can name a few but I think you should just, you know, seek out what interests you, find folks that are having conversations you want to join, and be yourself. The rest will fall into place.

Trailblazers: Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, Jay Baer, Valerie Maltoni, Stephanie Quilao, Liz Strauss, Scott Stratten (Canadian, and my favourite tagline: stop marketing. start engaging).

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