Leann Priebe

Yes, actually be yourself online!

hiding-behind-maskA lot of the things you do online can be automated, and it can save you a lot of time. It can even save you some embarrassment—did you know you can tweak your Gmail settings so you can have time to undo a sent message if you realize you’ve sent it to the wrong person?

But it’s important to weigh what you gain against what you lose. I got thinking about this recently when I had a work anniversary at T&S, and LinkedIn let people know.

I had several people congratulate me on my work anniversary, which was fun, but I noticed there were two main types of congratulation messages.

First, some people obviously took a minute or two to think about specific well-wishes, or they mentioned a time we had worked together. Just something personal.

Second, other people sent the automated LinkedIn work anniversary message. And those were obvious, too.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I appreciated people taking time out of their day to send me a nice message, even the automated LinkedIn message. But I couldn’t help thinking how much more the personalized messages stood out.

Here’s where you have to weigh what you gain with what you lose. A lot of people use LinkedIn as a networking tool, and I think that makes sense for most people. When you send an automated message through LinkedIn, though, you’re gaining time but losing some of the personal touch that would make your message memorable.

It might make sense for you to send an automated message in certain circumstances, especially if you’re facing a busy week but don’t want to miss out on touching base with a contact. But I challenge you to take an extra minute or two, think about what you know and appreciate about that contact, and personalize your message a bit.

Speaking from experience, it’s much easier to remember the personalized messages! This is one two-minute way you can set yourself apart from others in your industry. And of course, it applies everywhere online, not just on LinkedIn.

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