On this blog, I wanna talk about some the the things I wish my students knew. What that means is I’ll be looking for common mistakes, but also learning mindsets. When you come to class with a need to prove yourself instead of open yourself to new experiences, you’re just in the wrong place — unless it’s college. But even then, you’re very likely not raising a hand.
I’ve spent college years among people who would never raise their hand, but had the most comprehensive class notes I’d ever seen. Some of them had experiences abroad, and it’s fair to say, I guess, that today most of them do, or at least they’ve found stable jobs. My group was timidly working its way to the top of the educational landscape positions, and I think there’s a few of us who got a spotlight; maybe I did. What matters is what we had to learn ourselves in this process.
This means dealing with unhappy clients, making sure you could help at the crowded reception, knocking at the door of other departments to see if everything was going well, making time for my students, being available online even though the company never set that policy. There are things I took the initiative to do, and they were noticed. When it comes down to tech, though, it’s a little more complicated. Who are your contacts? What’s your social media presence?
And these are things we didn’t discuss at all. So here are a few items on my list, that I’d like to share.
1) Your social media is who you want to be.
That means all the models of hybrid work need to reflect that. On socials, you’re now expected to cover a variety of topics, and navigate through them seamlessly, and gracefully.
2) Who you really are is none of people’s business.
Your personal email is your personal email. Separate it from your work email, because you might not know it until you’re in that position yourself: that’s what all companies do. If, say, you want to respond to clients over WhatsApp, you’ll likely install the For Business app. That means, if you don’t want them to know your phone number, you need a new one. And so you either have a phone just for work or a phone with two SIM card slots. That, in itself, is a hard choice (think about logging out!)
3) Likes are strategy, but you can choose to be kind.
When people look at your activity, it’s all gonna be suggestions for a better user experience, and how fast you can get to the more juicy content, so to speak. But that can come from new connections which, a lot of the times, people are not willing to make. Then, that becomes personal. You begin to have personal opinions about a brand’s identity, and that’s good because it shows you’re not looking at your job less passionately; but you should be mindful of making the right moves for personal branding purposes, especially with formal attachment to an existing brand.
4) Less selfies, more ideas.
Beauty matters, but what else does? A lot of stuff. Feeling good about yourself is very important, but if you happen to take a picture that nobody likes, then you might just wanna change course. Have you thought about what your activity says, and the fact other people, or even content moderators, might be accessing that data? Sharing other people’s content is great, but original materials produced by you and put out with a smart approach will make people discover you — maybe commenting, for example, could be the start of a good interaction.
5) Design is underrated, but don’t forget about your goals
While it’s absolutely unquestionable that a well-presented graph, an invitation to a panel, a quick subscription link or a redirect to a linked story on your bio will make your socials more engaging, along with videos for those who are already engaged, thinking about what words you’re going to use is more of a craft. As Susan Sontag says: “agonize over sentences”.
6) Things I wish my students knew about life
Everybody walks a different path. The things I wish my students knew are things I wish I could openly share with them, and we’d learn from each other. This idea that you enter a crowded room in order to shine and be the center of attention is how you can tell character plays a role and your job is to contain bursts of self-confidence. Sometimes, the other people in the room want you to stop talking. And most of them deserve the space to talk. That’s why people have even made this a meme: “this could have been an email”.
Take a look at what Alex Cattoni says about digital marketing in 2023.
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