September 25, 2018

Social media: More than Doggos

The world has never been as connected as it is right now. You can log on to any social media platform and connect with friends, celebrities, athletes, industry professionals, and even brands (sup, @Wendys?). In 2010, social media played a major role in mobilizing people and igniting mass social movements such as the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Recently, Facebook came under heavy scrutiny for its role in the spreading of disinformation in the 2016 US Presidential election. Whether it’s seen as a savior or the bane of people’s existence, social media is so engrained in who we are that we cannot avoid it.

But why does social media matter to you? You just share funny memes, right? Or maybe you’re one of those rare few that doesn’t use it at all. Sorry to burst the bubble, but employers Google you. They don’t just look at your LinkedIn profile either. A lot of job seekers and students want to make all their accounts private. Don’t do that. Social media is a big part of the hiring process, so you must have an online presence.

A lot of people have creative cover letters, fancy resumes and killer portfolios. However, when companies are looking at your social media accounts, they are looking at who YOU are. If they Google you and nothing comes up, that’s a red flag. They will probably think that you are trying to hide something.

2K, the game studio behind some of the most popular games in the world, has this to say about showing off the real you:

“Include tasty little tidbits. We want to know if you were an Eagle Scout, if you were recognized for never missing a day of school, if you founded G.A.M.E (Gamers Against Meat Eating) in college, or perhaps you went to NASA science camp, or earned a black belt in Karate by age 15.”

Companies want to see your personality! They don’t just hire someone to check boxes; they hire people they want to eat lunch with. Does this mean you have to curate your entire life? Absolutely not. I have personal accounts and work-facing accounts. I can keep tweeting memes, posting about my affinity for the Chicago Cubs and ranting about the newest Puma soccer cleats on my personal accounts. On the other hand, my work-facing accounts are specifically designed to engage with those in the tech industry in a respectful way (#techrespect). Feel free to keep your personal accounts private, but you MUST have an online presence that is thoughtful, authentic and engaging. Get active or be left behind.  

I try to contribute thoughtfully to discussions, ask questions and retweet important information. Use social media as a networking tool. In fact, my brother got a job on Twitter (for real).

 

 

You too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not. – Marc Eckō

Here’s how to turn your online presence into your “brand”:

  1. Keep it Authentic
Have you ever heard the phrase, “fake it until you make it”? Well, one of the keys to building a personal brand is making sure you’re NOT doing that. What makes you unique? What makes you stand out? Make a list and create content that highlights those features. Remain positive and appropriate at all times, and make sure you add to discussions in a meaningful way.  

  2. Create and Curate Clever Content

Being online is one thing. Consistently adding content is another. Make sure you are posting, adding to discussions, sharing your art or work and asking questions on a consistent basis. Your portfolio is the perfect place to show off your polished, industry-ready work. On the other hand, social media is a great place to post drafts and early concepts and ask for feedback. This showcases your creative process and can give good insight into you as an artist.  

  3. Connect with the Right Audience

Make sure you follow people who are in your industry. Not sure who to follow? Start by following your favorite brands, organizations, companies and celebrities. From there, follow who they retweet or follow. Search for relevant hashtags. You will soon find those who have similar views. Think of this process as a snowball. Your following and network will get larger as it rolls down the hill. 

 

 

4. Embrace Variety 

Don’t just stick to one online source. Make sure your presence stretches across multiple platforms. For example, if you are interested in game development, make sure you are on GitHub, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, Art Station and Instagram. Find every possible way to get your work out there. You never know who will stumble across your profile.  

All in all, make sure you’re actively working on your brand at every turn. If it has your name attached to it, it’s your brand, so make sure you control your brand rather than having someone else decide for you.  

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