How Real Is Your Highlights Reel?

“Social Media is your highlights reel.” That’s a quote from Nick Foles following his Super Bowl victory. Pair that with a recent viewing of Black Mirror (the British science-fiction series in which one terrifyingly plausible episode reflects a world in which your true social status is determined by how many virtual “likes” you receive), and you’ve got the perfect illustration of how pervasive social media has become in our everyday personal and work lives.

Our social personas can also paint a glorious life that’s not quite reality. Good or bad, Social Media has become the go-to way to offer opinions, to connect with friends and clients, and to view funny videos, but it goes deeper than that.

This got me thinking about where you draw the line in your business and personal life when it comes to Social Media. I know many clients personally, and I enjoy seeing their vacations, family pictures, etc. It helps me feel more connected on a personal level.

I still consider myself a Photographer, so I like to post pictures of landscapes, family, travel, and even lost dogs. I have about 40 thousand photos in my camera roll, so I like to share. The down side is that I sometimes get comments like “it looks like you’re always on vacation.” This type of misperception gives me pause as to whether I should continue to post. It also raises questions for me as a business owner.

What is the impact on personal or business relationships when Social Media posts inadvertently create false perceptions about your standard of living or political leanings? Where’s the sweet spot? I can assure you I’m not “always on vacation.” :

I’ve decided that I will continue to post photos or an opinion about a movie or an occasional news article, because that’s the way I see the world. I’ll let the perceptions fall where they may.

These days, politics drives a lot of the content on FB, so I purposely try to steer clear of the negativity (although I may have a weak moment here and there). Does that mean I’m avoiding important issues or selling out my beliefs? Not really. That’s because I never built friendships based on who people voted for, or their income, or if they made a living driving a truck or being a CEO, anyway.

Bottom line, you may think you know someone because of the Social Media profile they’ve created, but if you look beyond, they probably deal with the same day to day issues that you do, and their “highlights reel” may just be a way to reflect a virtual escape from the more mundane aspects of everyday life.

Promises. Promises.

Welcome to February, and the cooling ashes of New Years Resolutions that often go along with it.

I recently overheard someone say “Why set a goal for yourself when you can make a promise, instead?”

This is kind of a kissin’-cousin to the old bromide: “Goals are particulars, but promises are proclamations.”

When you consider your co-workers and client-partners, don’t you think goals more often come across as a little “squishy,” when compared to promises? Or at least “goals” can be more ambiguous with a built-in trap door to escape accountability.

I think that’s why the best leaders don’t just say “Trust me” . . . instead, they say “I will earn your trust through my actions. Just watch!”

The best “Workplace Families” make promises to each other and challenge themselves to keep them, or even exceed them.

What’s better than over-delivering – whether it’s a promise or a weather forecast? And what’s worse than under-delivering on either one?

Yes, with so much to do and so little time to get it done, conflicts can arise and tough decisions have to be made. I suppose that’s why you can lose as much hair as you lose sleep, in any given week!

But when we exceed what was promised for our clients, they become raving fans! And they, in turn become our Marketing Department, by talking us up on Social Media, in the hallways, and around the water cooler.

Have you ever been so loyal that you would drive out of your way or spend extra time in line because that particular place always makes good on their promises? I’ve seen you patiently waiting at the Genius Bar . . . those places you return to over and over again, while telling everyone else all the reasons why they should go there, too.

As long as you’re not the commercial that is better than the actual experience, you’re fine.

Reminds me of the time I took my wife to an over-hyped restaurant for a special occasion, and as I was leaving, the Hostess asked: “How was your meal?” And I said: “My compliments to the menu photographer!”

Let’s all agree to do what we can to ensure that the “meals” we’re serving up, match (or exceed!) the beauty of the photography.

Just think of it as the secret to turning your bouillabaisse into your fan base.

Food for thought. And that’s a promise.

Bon appetit!