When it comes to working on the web few of us have the skill or experience demonstrated by Spiderman. So, when it comes to creating an online presence, the critical thing to consider before even one finger comes into contact with the keyboard is:
“To be myself or not be myself, that is the question?”
Whether or not to take a personal approach or to portray a ‘public persona’ in online activity is a hard question to answer and not one where a one syllable word will suffice. The question may as well be: “how long is a piece of string” or “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is certainly no definitive answer.
Many adopt a ‘Peter Parker’ approach, retaining their own individual identity and portraying themselves online as close to their own personality as possible.
With the increasing obsession to engage with social media 24/7, there is more opportunity than ever to publicise our every thought and opinion with the click on a mouse or the press of a button.
And therein lies the danger.
How far should this personal revelation go? What is the convention for including personal information and when is it acceptable to swear or criticise?
And, most importantly, what risk does this pose to personal reputation?
A safer route preferred by many commercial organisations is to adapt a ‘Spiderman’ approach, creating an alter-ego which reflects the corporate brand messages and limits the risk of any potential reputational damage more effectively.
There is no denying it, though, to build a really powerful online voice an authentic approach is essential and establishing a corporate communications policy alongside developing active engagement can be a fine balance.
Even if multiple accounts are adopted, in such a public environment no-one is ever ‘off duty’ and, the true identity can not be fully protected. Indeed, as Peter Parker’s Uncle said: “with power comes great responsibility.”
When it comes to ‘spinning’ PR online we can’t all be as expert with the sticky stuff as Spiderman, so perhaps we’d all be wise to heed the cautionary warning of Sir Walter Scott:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”