Those of you who already know me, will be aware that I’m exceptionally clever. That being said, even a superstar like me can screw up royally. The old adage of ‘keep business and pleasure separate’ has recently come up and slapped me round the chops. As a phrase, it’s not one I tend to agree with, business can be jolly pleasurable after all. It’s not illegal to have fun whilst you work and as we learned from Connect a while back, it’s cool to tweet about your cat. But if I’d followed a very simple rule a while back, I wouldn’t have spent the last few days pulling my hair out and cursing at the computer screen.
So, what’s the rule?
The rule is simple, when signing up to things online take five seconds to think about which email address you want to use, personal or business. And then take a further 5 seconds thinking about your username. A general rule of thumb is to try and make your handles as similar as possible across the interweb, unless you’re posting on some dark and dirty forums late at night in which case you may want a secret identity.
Email addresses, handles…what’s the big deal?
Granted you may at this point be wondering why the heck it really matters what email address you chose when you sign up to stuff, if you’re really hard to please you may even be wondering why they let a Brit on AgentGenius in the first place. Well, the big deal comes when you have a zillion online profiles and you change companies, as I have just found out. My work email address, which I’ve loved entering in to every registration form going, no longer exists. Which means being notified about new friends, comments, photos, kittens etc is nigh on impossible. Trust me when I say it takes forever to remember everything you’ve ever signed up for and to go through the hullabaloo of changing emails, verifying emails and so on.
The handle issue is even worse.
Being the type of person that loves to pimp their wares online, I thought I was so brainy by including my company name in my handles. Every time someone would see anything I wrote, they’d get a nice reminder of the super duper company I worked for! Yay! Yay with a cherry on top! But now I don’t work for that company, regardless of my handle implying I do. Bummer. Bummer with a big fat stinkbomb on top. Online branding is fantastic, but to confuse your personal identity with you professional identity is just plain dumb. I’ve just had to fluster 400 odd Twitter followers by changing my name, so I won’t make this mistake again.
No doubt I’ll lose out somehow.
My heart bleeds a little when I think of all those comments I’ve made and links I’ve created to profile URLs that no longer exist thanks to this stupid name change. My advice would be to promote yourself, let your name be your handle, and then make the (easily changeable) profile links drive traffic to your company sites. You’ll always be you, but your professional interests may change.
I’ll get over it, slowly, but I just thought I’d share my story and maybe someone out there will learn from it.