A mirror and a few pots and pans in a garden

Being You on Social Media: on Translation, Roasted Peanuts & Chocolate Salty Balls

by Esther on 9 juli 2013

If I told you I’m eating a bar of Tony’s Chocolonely caramel salted chocolate right now, would that make me cool?

How much cooler do I become if you knew I have that South Park song Chocolate Salty Balls in my head at regular intervals?

Does that diminish at all if I added I wipe my nose with a towel when no paper cloth is available?

Show Some Personality

I’m a big believer in authenticity: in being the same person both online and offline.

That’s why referring to the offline world as ‘real life’ sounds strange. Internet is also real life. It’s just a powerful tool, a series of technologies to help us communicate, find and share information. But it’s no less real than our offline activities.

Do you have a profile to fill in somewhere? Show me some personality! Even on a business website, it can’t hurt to share that you’re an avid mountain biker or have a craving for roasted peanuts. It gives you something to be remembered by.

Our quirks make us interesting, but they can’t get too… quirky. Still, I get suspicious if I see someone who only shows their perfect self with nothing that stands out whatsoever, whether it’s online or offline.

As a translator, I have found many of my clients through the website ProZ.com. ProZ is much like any other social website: you have the opportunity to show others who you are and what you do, and they can contact you if they want. Interaction between users (in this case translators, agencies, companies and so forth) is what it’s all about. But how do you stand out among your colleagues, who may work in the same language pairs and fields?

You Never Know!

I chose a personal approach: instead of yelling about my titles, I tell potential clients that I enjoy what I do, that I always aim for quality and that I’m an honest person who appreciates a bit of casual conversation (e.g. asking a client how their weekend was). This is who I am offline, so I might as well share some of that personality online. I added a line about my love for restaurant dinners, Chile and coffee – after all, you never know what interesting jobs that could lead to!

The same goes for Twitter. I do not aim to get thousands of meaningless followers to whom I can endlessly spam my business abilities. Instead, I enjoy the fast and easy conversations that connect me with people in my own neighborhood or on another continent.

How do you share your personality online? And how has that worked out for you?