Strutting your stuff on Facebook and Twitter (without too much strut).

Well it’s all over except the weight gain and the regrets from the office party. Christmas is a time of excess – excess food, excess drinking, texting while drinking, and messaging while drinking. A few passive messages with a couple of online dating potentials become quagmires of suggestion and innuendo until you take a look when sober and realise you’re best to delete your membership and start again under a completely new name as you plead with yourself ‘Oh God, did I really put that?’. Yep.

And Twitter? Don’t. You know ‘don’t drink and drive’? Well, don’t drink and tweet. Mucho regret…I don’t care what they did to you, or how much retribution you feel you have a right to wreak upon them – don’t tweet it (unless it’s poor service – then go right ahead). Know the expression ‘Nothing personal’? Make it your new Twitter mantra.

I love Facebook – I love that I can tell anyone who’s interested what I’m up to/thinking/making/trying to achieve. BUT…sometimes I forget that it is a global audience I’m talking to…not just my mates. What my mates will find funny and relevant is likely to make me look a complete nana to some of my business contacts – context is everything. Twitter is similar in this regard – your buddies might be fascinated by what you ate for dinner and which wine you enjoyed with it, but does everyone want to know? Is it about as interesting as tweeting ‘I’m having a cup of tea’? Sometimes I scare myself by thinking about who might’ve read a tweet or Facebook post I have written….some pretty pre-eminent wine people follow me on twitter or are friends on Facebook (scary). How daft do I sound to them?

But should I really worry about it? Using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook carries with it the responsibility of integrity and credibility. As long as I (or anyone else) don’t get personal, thoughtless, rude, or just downright boring, then aren’t we just letting people have a glimpse of who we are?

I spoke to social media whizz Jamie Roy about this some time ago when I wanted to set up a Facebook page for my business. I already had a ‘personal’ page that I put pics of the kids on and shared mainly with family and friends and I didn’t think was very professional to use this in the wine industry. While Jamie understood my concerns, he explained that these days, people in business want to know who they are dealing with. It’s not just about a CV, it’s about who you are, not just what you do.

The more I do, the more I realise this is true. I also realise that maintaining two Facebook presences is somewhat unrealistic (for me). My time is spent on one Facebook page – my WineBelindaNZ one. I am authentic…true to myself and post stuff that echoes this. And it’s not like all my Facebook friends have to read every post I write – they can gloss over it. But someone who is perhaps considering hiring me might check out my page to see what I’m really like – Facebook, like Twitter is a rolling, real time CV.

It’s about personality, not just what’s on paper. Twitter and Facebook portray me as me – no pretending. So I am laid out, bare – warts and’ all. Am I naked in a room full of people wearing clothes? Hopefully I’m naked in a room full of other naked people – we’re all out there being true to ourselves, opening ourselves up, letting people see the real us.

Conclusion? Be honest, humble, credible and don’t write anything you might regret.

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About Belinda Jackson

I'm a professional wino! I work for myself as an independent consultant in the wine industry covering a number of different areas from strategic branding to copy writing, tasting and reviewing wines, presenting and advising. I also contract to Pead PR, currently working on one of New Zealand's most iconic wine brands. As a director of Wine Competition Ltd I also run the country's two newest independent wine competitions, the Spiegelau International Wine Competition (www.thespiegelauiwc.co.nz) and the Marlborough Wine Show (www.marlboroughwineshow.co.nz) I love to write and do so for a number of different scenarios - web, labels, company documents, books (I have three published). I'm also a regular contributor on radio, particularly a fortnightly wine slot on National Radio on Afternoon's with Jim Mora, which I love. I started in the wine industry in Bordeaux in the mid-eighties before heading back to the UK to work with a wine wholesaler. Ten years later I was responsible for sourcing and buying 750,000 cases of wine from around the world. I have been in NZ since 1995 and absolutely love it. My first nine years were in Auckland with New Zealand Liquor and then Glengarry Hancocks. I have lived in Marlborough since 2004 - surely one of the best places in the world. When I'm not immersed in the wine industry, I volunteer with Marlborough Riding for the Disabled. I am also on the board of the New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association. I am very lucky :)
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