I’m at a weird age.
I remember the day we got dial-up internet in my house. I was six years old (I’m revealing my age here, but so be it).
It was a big deal – I could send an email to my friend in Colorado from California! Even cooler? There was this thing that AOL had called, “Instant Messenger.”
There were chat rooms, there were games, and even funny videos of cats!
I feel like I grew up with the internet. I remember getting a MySpace page in middle school (Don’t look it up. 2004 was a popular time for flat ironing your hair in a manner that can only be described as… aggressive).
Facebook really took off when I was graduating high school in 2009 and starting my first business, a brick and mortar retail store.
Now we’re nearly all online in some way or another. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat or Reddit, it’s almost a requirement to be online.
If you’re reading this right now, you likely have some kind of presence on social media.
It’s not uncommon to share pictures and anecdotes of your kids, and privacy is something that is becoming increasingly difficult to have – whether you want it or not.
Many of us are required to have our own personal brand in many industries. In a way, we’re all public figures projecting an image of how we want others to see us.
Podcasting is no exception.
I feel for teenagers growing up in an age that seems to make social media mandatory.
I’m sure we can all say that we’ve done and said some pretty cringeworthy things in our youth (and by the looks of Facebook, youth isn’t always required to say something cringeworthy).
Can you imagine so many of those mistakes you made preserved forever online? All of those regrettable outfits? Those dramatic outbursts that come with your teen years?
Learning to navigate the world as you grow is challenging, and it isn’t made any easier when there’s a voyeuristic audience observing you, through either your own postings or others posting about you.
So what’s my point?
Podcasters often face the same online growing pains that many of us have experienced as we adapt to social media. Some don’t realize that when you become a podcaster, you’re becoming a bit of a public figure the moment you begin marketing yourself.
What you post, how you post, where you post…
… it all matters and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to erase.
Sure, you might be able to delete that impatient response to an irate listener, but how many people took screencaps before you fixed your mistake? How many people saw or even shared what you posted?
Most of your friends may share your political beliefs and enjoy your rants, but that one big Patreon supporter you have may not appreciate it.
We all have growing pains when starting out in podcasting. There’s a learning curve for all of us in one way or another and no matter how experienced you are, you will always make mistakes. But the BEST of us learn from those mistakes and continue to grow throughout the entirety of our careers.
By simply exercising caution, taking the time to research, and learn the networking and customer service skills essential to maintaining your reputation online, you can make it a whole lot easier.
Social media is relatively new. Are you using it for yourself….
….or against yourself?
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