You’ve heard the saying, “A lady never _____.” No one ever said this to me directly but I did take note of class all by myself. I don’t live in a world where gloves, pearls, and finger sandwiches exist but the pearls are still the sign of a classy lady.
There is an image of this lady in my head. Sometimes she looks like Audrey Hepburn, quiet and graceful with doe eyes. Other times she is Claire Huxtable from the Cosby Show. A smart, clever, funny, beautiful woman that does not suffer fools.
When I am approached about my thoughts on privacy issues and the internet, the ghost of the lady is in my head. When Google Buzz unintentionally released users’ address books to all that they contained, the ensuing uproar over loss of privacy and security was expected. I heard somewhere that it’s really about control. We were under the illusion that we had control over our information. When we lose that control, we get upset. But the question I want to ask is, did we ever really have control to begin with?
I say this, “From the second you step out your door, you are most likely being recorded. From the security cameras in your complex, the passing Google Street View car, a satellite image, a cell phone with camera and video, the computers you use, the emails and texts you send, the credit cards you charge with, pretty much everything you do is being tracked. You can’t let that stop you but I hope you think twice about the choices you make.”
When on Facebook, I am reminded that my grandmother (grama is how we spell it), stepmom, sister and clients are reading my posts and seeing my activity. I am telling you, there is nothing like a grama watching to keep you in line.
The lady test I passed? A woman I respect for her honesty, intelligence, wit, devotion, and genteel nature expressed to me how impressed she was with the way I carried myself, who I was, and how I conducted business. This is a woman that definitely fits into the lady category. No matter that she is younger than I am. To know that those I esteem recognize in me those same qualities means I am making the right choices.
Can you pass the “lady test”? You don’t have to be a woman. It’s about conducting yourself in a certain way, a way that makes you or your family proud. Know that everything you do counts. Every person you come in contact with is affected by you. There are no throw aways or do overs. Pretend your grama’s watching.
A thank you to some great ladies in my life: Cassie Johnson, Pam Austin, Colleen Quirk Dillaway, Marian Quirk. There are more but these ladies play a part in this post.
*UPDATE 6/26/11 This post is a carry over from my last blog and was the most read post I’ve ever written. It holds true and “The Lady Test” is something I say all the time. Online reputation management is a growing field. Make sure what you post is how you want to be remembered.
I recently read a quote (paraphrased) that smart leaders pay attention to the successes of the leaders before them. Even smarter leaders pay attention to their successes AS WELL as their failures.
You didn’t invent the wheel. Many have come before you and have done great and terrible things long before you even thought of it, whatever it is. Since I spend much of my time working in social media, I will speak to that specifically.
In social media, there is a convergence of marketers, business owners, communication specialists, tech geeks, marketers, PR people and then some. We are swimming in the same pool now, learning from each other. Nobody gets it all right all of the time. We will all fail (and if we don’t we’re not really in it). The trick is to learn the biggest mistakes from those that made them before you rather than stepping in the muck yourself. I call it “following the rockstar”.
Let’s say you sell toothbrushes. Are you aware of Colgate, Oral B, and Sonicare? Of course you are. Would you check out their website, blog, and marketing materials occasionally to know what they are up to? Most likely, if you are looking to be successful that’s exactly what you are doing. You want to know what has worked for those that are already successful. And knowing what our competition is doing is vital part of doing business.
Now extend that one step further. Not only do you sell toothbrushes but you might be interested in dentists, denture makers, mouthwash, surgery centers, packing manufacturers as well as toothpaste companies. If you are paying attention to what these companies are doing, you’ll start to see some “out of the box” type techniques. Some record videos, others interview clients, some are just straight inspiring with the ways they have represented their business and services. Doing this kind of research will inspire you to get outside of your own rut and think differently. When they do it WRONG and when they do it GREAT, you are noticing. This is “following the rockstar”. Whether they stumble or knock it out of the park, pay attention to your reaction as an observer (or prospective customer) and take that as a qualitative survey result.
If you’ve just started your Facebook fan page, your Twitter stream or your YouTube video series, you’ll be looking to see how others are doing it well and doing it poorly. Leapfrog yourself over those stumbling baby steps and learn by example. Follow a rockstar and you’ll never regret it.