We Are What We Tweet

Written by David but inspired by Damien.

For years, a business card has been the ultimate power statement, defining who we are by the title we have and the firm we represent. After a handshake we naturally exchange them. But what happens afterwards?

I have more business cards than I know what to do with. Once I have them, I rarely use them again.

Many I sadly lose.

But all this may be about to change. A new way is emerging for us to identify ourselves, build personal brand and influence others and that it is through our social identities. An exchange of tweet names through our smartphones may soon become the new cool way to seal a business relationship.

The nature of tweeting creates an opportunity for our deeper personas to emerge and to transform the way we interact and influence each other. It can fundamentally alter our concept of identity; how others see us and how we see them.

On a flight from Chicago to New York a colleague engaged an interesting fellow traveller in conversation, but instead of business cards they exchanged tweet handles.

As a result a Twitter exchange followed and the relationship journey continued through following each other’s tweets. By developing relationships in this way our ability to have influence and impact also increases. Through investing in our social presence we may become more influential as individuals developing our personal brand in a way that was previously inconceivable.

Our business cards might say Director, Banking and Capital Markets. But this says little about who we really are. In contrast on Twitter we might be a technologist, writer and gastronomic adventurer. Our tweets are even more revealing.  We are what we tweet and who we tweet with. Our Twitter DNA unveils us for the whole world to see.

And Twitter is full of alluring identities and revelations:

Human rights, politics, jazz, Dad

Reporter, Business Insider, Designer, Sous Chef

Chief of Confusion, Social activist, Spouse, Mum, Sister, Mother of 3

Actor, Writer, Prince of Swim Wear, Lord of Dance

Many of us are already being judged on the level of our influence. Companies like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitter Grader are in the process of grading people on their level of social influencebased on our presence and activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In other words we will be assigned a number that reflects how influential we are. In the future firms may not just want to know our credit score when we apply for a job, but our influence score as well.

Like vinyl records, business cards are ceding ground to a new era of social identity and influence based in the cloud. It is also creating a more level playing field between those who are already famous and those who might one day become so.

You don’t have to be Lady Gaga to have influence on the internet.

(tw) @davidstcox