What I Learned From Jim Hillyer: Social Media is an Amplifier

Image from maxw via Flickr

I’ve written a couple of posts in the past on this topic, but people obviously still need educating.

Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are amplifiers.  They can take the good and the bad and amplify the effects.  The message no longer falls on the ears of 10, 50, or 500 people, but is heard around the world.

This can be powerful in positively influencing your personal brand, but it can also damage your personal brand.

This is a lesson that Conservative MP, Jim Hillyer learned this week.

At the end of the second reading to end the gun registry, Hillyer was caught on camera celebrating with finger gun motions.

The fact that the same day was the anniversary of the massacre at Montreal’s École Polytechnique where 14 women were killed, only fueled the anger that ensued.

The New Weapon

In the wild west, cowboys had to check their guns at the saloon doors because that was their weapon.

The explosion of social media and mobile have introduced a new weapon.  Your personal brand is much easier (and more legal) to destroy than your life.

I’ve given numerous presentations where I talk about the concept of think before you post.  I think that needs to be expanded to say think before you act.

In an moment of not thinking or being caught up in the excitement, your personal brand can be permanently damaged. I think people are understanding the importance of online privacy (although many still don’t get it) and the importance of being careful in what you share, but that isn’t enough.

What are your thoughts on social media and personal branding? Please share below.