Don Draper is one of the characters on the show Mad Men, which in a short span from its first airing, has managed to gain quite the following. Watch this video of Draper's Kodak moment with the Carousel, and you will be touched.
Despite the man not being a saint, if you do a quick search on Twitter, you will find that don_draper is popular there. The creation of Paul Isakson, who was passionate about bringing the character to life, Draper has now been taken over by someone who understands him. I'm intrigued, aren't you?
You may not know TweetJeebus as well as you do Draper. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Dwight Silverman writes: "Whoever TweetJeebus really is, he's got the routine nailed. Even within Twitter's 140-character limitation, he's both wise and funny at the same time -- just what you'd expect if the Son of God signed up for a little Web-based social networking."
Whoever the writer is, I think you can agree, he's quite a character - and he's brought to life quite an old story.
We love stories, and we end up identifying with the characters in those stories.
If you know any actors or have done any acting, you will know that the most difficult part of acting is that of staying in character. In my rudimentary acting experience (a small play in middle school), I learned that it was important to listen to the other actors as if they were speaking for the first time. Doing that would help me internalize the conversation as if I were thinking - and believing - my lines, and respond appropriately.
Personal and professional lives continue to collide - in the new reality of work, and in social media. David Armano wrote a brilliant post about the battle of the brands a couple of months back. With those lines blurring, building and managing online reputations is becoming increasingly important. Part of that means you stay in character.
Staying in character with social media:
- be true to yourself - your beliefs and your values
- do what you say you will do - some call this integrity
- listen while you interact - internalize the interaction as it's going to be part of your story
- let your work speak for you - this also takes care of the balance between promotion of self and that of your business
- invest time, energy, and attention in building the right kind of story
Some of this may seem common sense. It's probably useful to repeat it so we can use it as a reference point. What we're experiencing is a new Renaissance of human thought. The tools are secondary.
Honestly this is a question I get a lot - how do you keep personal and professional separate? Entrepreneurs know the drill pretty well - they are their own sales force, marketing group, brand, as well as the delivery team. However, up until recent years, they were all those things depending on the situation. That made it easier to stay in character.
Many companies have written solid policies and guides to social media participation. I do think however, that we're just scratching the surface on the issue. As more employees participate, there will be a need for more conversations about what staying in character means. Including considerations on brand equity, questions around what happens if the person leaves the company, culture, relationships and more.
How do you go about revealing yourself to others? Is your personal brand stronger than your company's brand? Which one should take the lead? How do you handle disclaimers and warranties if you mix the two?
[image by Rick Harris]