It had been a while since I had seen my friend, so I invited him for a visit. He had recently got a job in a media / tech consultancy. He’d also started using this super (waterproof) smart phone. We had a conversation which super-charged my interest in tech stuff and how they influence the world. We talked about mobile apps and devices; the power of YouTube, how life has stopped being business-as-usual due to social media and other things; establishing an online presence; Beats by Dre; the business of Jay Z and the lessons therein; creating multiple revenue streams, et cetera. We also nibbled on some Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean and Kit Kat.
Themba Jay and tech
It’s fascinating, it changes lives in major and crazy ways. It transcends previously known boundaries in terms of space, time and geography. And while it’s simplifying and elevating many people’s lives, it leaves many others befuddled.
I started getting my feet wet in 2010, June, 16 — a special day in South Africa, Youth Day — and sent my first tweet. More than 6300 tweets and retweets later (at the time of publication), I’m happy with my decision to sign up on the site. Through it I’ve connected with amazing people, it has me consuming insightful and mind-expanding content. Being present online has increased my reading appetite, knowledge and accelerated my personal growth.
Just like many other people, I initially created a Twitter account and left it unused for a while, thinking it was complex. It was in a Journalism lecture a few weeks later my digital fire was re-ignited. Blogging \ micro-blogging was the topic of the day, and the lecturer asked how many of us had Twitter accounts. Only a handful raised their hands. She went on to say the site was changing how we communicate, how businesses reach their customers and how we seek and consume information.
I started making a concerted effort to understand tech and the online space more. I thought deeply about my online presence and things such as what it should convey about me. I figured I needed to extend myself and create a strong online presence which is consistent with who I am. From then, I’ve pushed techie things (my interest in gadgets, for instance) top-of-the-list and heightened my love for communications and digital media.
Not too bad for a guy who once vehemently said he’ll never buy a full touch screen mobile phone. This just to hold on to the comfort and familiarity of a buttoned keyboard. Today, I wrote this post using a touch screen handset. Embracing change I tell ya! *pats self on the back*
Before I conclude, allow me to tell you a story. A US-based artist, painter and designer was looking to make a move and grow in his career. He applied for a job in a company he wanted to work for and fortunately, he made it for the interview. The interview was unlike any he’d attended before. Over coffee, the employers only wanted to talk to him about the last Christmas vacation he had (they saw images of it on his Instagram account). They’d already hired him, even before he could step into the boardroom. They’d seen his work and they loved it on the same account. His Instagram profile became his portfolio.
So ask yourself: what sort of images in your name are found across the web? Do you still believe your online and real life presence are two separate things. Do you have consistency, do you ooze authenticity — is what I see online the same I will encounter when we eventually shake hands? In his book, Reallionaire, entrepreneur Farrah Gray says, “Only what’s real will last. I will last.”
What is your online presence saying about you?