I find myself in an interesting predicament when writing these blog posts. I know that I have a lot of interesting information to offer, and I love doing it, but sometimes I worry that readers will discount what I have to say because I’m a dreaded “20-something.”
But here’s the way I see it: a lot of young people like myself might look at the picture above and have no idea what the heck it is. But, if a kindly older person who had used a typewriter before in their life explained what it was, then the younger person would become more educated then they had been previously.
The same principle can be applied here, only in reverse. The younger generation was practically raised on smart phones and WiFi and “likes” and “follows.” We know what we’re talking about, and maybe I really do have a few good insights to offer to people who are older than me and are running their own businesses and making a difference in the world.
Take personal branding, for instance. 20-somethings know all about keeping up appearances online, probably because we spent our entire teenage years obsessing over it. And though I’d not like to relive those years of insecurity and paranoia, they’ve taught me a few things about my personal brand and how to maintain it.
Keep close tabs on what’s being said about you
It sounds unpleasant, but it really is an important part of personal branding to be aware of the chatter online. Yes, that probably includes Googling yourself occasionally, looking at your @ mentions on Twitter, seeing who’s tagged you on Facebook, and whatnot. Use good personal judgment to determine whether you should actually engage with the people talking about you, though – sometimes, it’s better just to consider the criticism and move forward.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
People love a brand that’s personable….and you’d better believe that’s essential for a “personal brand.” Even if your branding is professional or serious, make room for a little bit of humility in your online interactions. It’s off-putting to interact with someone who takes themselves so seriously that they talk like a robot, for example. Use appropriate but natural language, and don’t be afraid of injecting a bit of humor into your posts.
Always be looking to try new things
The greatest enemy to building a strong personal brand is the inability to take risks and try new things. Every day, someone is inventing a new app, starting a new trend, or coining a new term. While you don’t want to be influenced by every Harlem Shake that comes along, you also don’t want to be left in the dust. We 20-somethings love to be on top of the latest trends because it feels great to be connected, to be where everyone else is. For you, it shouldn’t just feel good – it should be essential.
Sure, some 20-somethings still have a lot to work on when it comes to being serious, productive adults. But most of us have a bit of insight into what makes the average internet user tick, and you’d be smart to take advantage of that. If you’re no longer a spring chicken yourself (no offense intended!), consider talking to a few of the younger people at your company or who live next door and asking them for feedback on your own personal brand. You may need some thick skin, but I can bet that you’ll learn a lot from the exchange.
What else is there to be learned from 20-somethings? Let us know in the comments below!