Have you noticed lately that it is becoming less and less commonplace to hear about some dumb thing a certain celebrity or politician had said or done on the recent past, only is just now being discovered and/or reported? Well, I have. And you know why that is? It isn’t that people are behaving better these days – far from it – it’s that literally everything gets reported in real time anymore.
It doesn’t even have to be something important – even stuff like a candid snapshot of so and so random celebrity knuckle deep in a nostril while sitting in traffic is enough to make the front page of TMZ.com. But, you don’t have to be a celebrity to know your life is under a constant microscope. Between handheld flip cams and security cameras and cell phones with built in video capture capabilities – not to mention everything you put out there voluntarily by way of your blog, Facebook, etc., your entire life is potentially being recorded whether you like (or know) it or not.
What this implies is that not only is everything you do possibly being recorded and archived, the millions of avenues of self publishing and broadcasting means that the ability to bring your shenanigans to the masses at warp speed is readily available.
The whole point of all this is the fact that the world we live in now forces us to come to terms with what some may consider to be a rather sobering reality: Whether you like it or not, you are always on stage.
As your Miranda rights go, anything you say or do can be held against you in a court of public opinion. Don’t think that you can slip one through here and there. It’s been estimated that as many as 45% of employers use Facebook to screen potential job applicants and that number is only going to go up. In today’s economy, the sheer number of resumes employers receive make them more interested in seeking reasons not to interview a candidate for a position, so they look for voluntary idiocy via social media accounts as a method of weeding out morons who still think posting drunken pictures of their beer-pong exploits is a good idea.
And, while this is potentially true for prospective job hunters, it is even more so for those of us who are self employed.
When you’re self employed, it’s basically true that you are never not working. Any social scene, from backyard BBQs to your interactions with other parents at your kids’ sporting events can potentially provide an opportunity to meet a future client or gain a referral. But even beyond that, every single encounter will leave an impression. The type of impression you leave is up to you.
Think of all the ridiculous parents yelling incessantly in the stands during sporting events. Whether you’re a fellow parent with a kid on the same field, or you’re a player yourself, or you’re a coach – you’ve undoubtedly encountered someone like this at some point. It’s inevitable. And when you see people act this way, what’s the first thing that runs through your head? I can probably guess – but I think it’s safe to assume that it isn’t that this person is a level headed individual you might like to someday do business with.
Every single person you encounter has the potential to to influence the perception of you and your business – so you always have to be on your game to make sure that that influence is a positive one. Because in today’s digital age, a little bit of damage can go a long long way.