For years now we have been living behind our online identities. Ever since the hay day of AOL instant messenger we have been creating personas to talk and interact with other people. But is this all just a façade?
A recent tweet from Tad Chef sparked this mindset that we may not be ourselves all the time.
@JoeRega Yeah, that’s the problem. Modern social media make us streamlined topical personas not real people. It’s about time to revert that.
— Tad Chef (@onreact_com) August 4, 2015
So if we’re not being ourselves, then who are we? Should businesses put effort behind targeting these personas we create?
Online Personas – Are We Truly Them Or Are We Trying To Cater To Our Followers?
Let’s take a closer look at the question: Do businesses have the right persona they’re marketing to?
To answer that we need to understand the different types of persona’s found online. HubSpot does an excellent job of describing what a buyer persona is:
Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all — in marketing, sales, product, and services — internalize the ideal customer we’re trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans.
OK, so a buyer persona is our ideal target audience that we’re marketing to. So businesses have a handle on that. But what if we’re not a business? What about the average person, let’s say someone in marketing, who has a twitter account and shares a few articles he or she reads.
There are many different approaches to social media and each have their own unique niche. Jeff Bullas published a great article about the 10 social media personas. In the article Jeff lists 10 different personality types and how to communicate with each of them.
But let’s jump back to the original question for a minute that Tad’s tweet supports: are we shaping ourselves to fit our profiles?
Here was my reply to Tad’s tweet:
@onreact_com 100% I’ve noticed that whenever I share something not SEO related it’s usually followed by an exodus of followers
— Joe Rega (@JoeRega) August 4, 2015
Sure enough, shortly after that tweet my twitter count dropped by 20.
Maybe there is some truth to this?
A large number of unfollows generally happens after I share something personal, which on twitter isn’t too often.
So why would someone unfollow me for stepping out of my marketing character for a moment? Don’t people want to know the real me?
The Psychology of The Unfollow
According to this post on psychology today and this infographic, some of the top reasons a person may unfollow someone are that they tweet too much, appear automated, are too boring or are too personal.
Maybe I’m biased but I’d like to think I’m not boring. I don’t tweet often (4-5 times a day maybe) and while I’m not sure of the exact percentage, I’d have to guess that every 1 out of 50 tweets (if that) are personal.
Jeff’s article delves deeper into the different personas we encounter online and what we can expect from each of them. I’d like to think I rank somewhere around The Helpful, #4 on his list.
But why aren’t we injecting more about ourselves into our online presence? Is it over fear of losing more followers? Are we trying to gain more followers by only sharing specific content?
Bringing more of a human element to our online presence should eliminate any feeling of automation and remove the stale, mundane aura about our profiles.
Before I go let me leave you to ponder this question: If we are not sharing our true selves, who is losing out?