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Growing up, my siblings were all wanna-be hippies. And so I was one, too. While we were all too young to actually be hippies, and we lived across the world from the heart of the movement, rocking out to the era’s music was as close as we could get to Haight Street in the Summer of Love.
Which, on the off chance you’re having a bad flashback and can’t recall, was in 1967.
Flash forward to today.
Lately, because of what I do for a living, I’ve been thinking about how different the ‘60’s would have been if social media were around. Would:
- Anyone have “friended” Yoko Ono on Facebook while The Beatles were breaking up? I think not.
- Woodstock have been more crowded? More controlled? Wilder? Cancelled?
- Bob Dylan have sold out to Victoria’s Secret sooner?
The possibilities are as mind-bending as the vibe of the times. Final ponder:
Would Jimi Hendrix have been on LinkedIn?
Apparently, someone thought so, since they created a profile for him:
Obviously this skeletal profile has little to do with Hendrix’s impact on musical history. Because while there were many great guitarists before him—and many after—he remains unique.
Jimi Was One Of A Kind.
The one that all others are measured against.
He seemed to land on this earth from somewhere far beyond, guitar in hand, speaking a language that was universal, yet otherworldly.
And even though his singing voice was unique, versatile and velvety, Hendrix is remembered as the first artist to speak with his guitar.
This Was His Personal Brand.
Just imagine what his LinkedIn profile would be like if he were here today to own it. Imagine seeing this in your feed:
“Hey, I was just riffing on the Star Spangled Banner. I’ve attached a few bars of it here. Can you dig it?”
Maybe Jimmy Page or Keith Richards would chime in, comment, and share what they’re working on. And with that online conversation between guitar masters, history would have been made.
It reminds me of Tom Peters and his persistent, incisive question:
“What do you want to be known for today? In three years? In ten years?”
Which brings me to you, your personal brand and the content you share online.
Imagine you are a rock star [insert your profession here].
Whatever it is you do, pretend you are that otherworldly being against which everyone else in your field is measured. What would you say about your work, and how would you say it? How do you stack up against others?
What is the legacy you want to leave?
Big Questions, I Know.
Here are 5 helpful tips to get you started…
1. Be Bold.
And by this, I mean don’t hold back.
Don’t keep your knowledge to yourself. Put yourself out there. If you never share your most meaningful accomplishments, the world (beyond your close-knit circle) may never know what your best gifts are.
If Hendrix had never gone on tour, how pervasive would his music be? Uh huh, yeah, probably not very. Think of sharing content online as your “virtual album tour”.
Sticking your neck out into the content arena is your only way to get groupies. So don’t be timid. You are, after all, a rock star in your own right.
2. Be Real.
Know what you think, feel and intend. Be yourself. When Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, many people the world over were outraged.
To them, it was iconoclastic. But when Hendrix talked about, his love for the song (and for his country) came through. He genuinely thought it was beautiful.
Authenticity is hard to dispute even if someone disagrees with your premise.
3. Be Lyrical.
Don’t be afraid to add colour and context to what you share.
Let your networks know how the experience you’re conveying ties into the broader narrative of your career – and your life. But be succinct.
One of Hendrix’s most beautiful songs, Little Wing, only has 12 lines. However, without the butterflies and zebras, it would just be a so-so short song.
Remember, every word has an impact. Make each of yours count in your own unique way. Let your voice shine through.
Use your online content to experiment.
Maybe it’s your opportunity to float some new ideas out for feedback from people who really have something to contribute. (Think Jimmy Page commenting back to Hendrix).
Other ways to riff include sharing content that isn’t seemingly related to your field and using it to create an unexpected connection to your work.
Taking your network by surprise could spark creativity and conversation, maybe even more than a straightforward, industry-related post.
Last thought: share an article you enjoyed with a short, pithy comment that expresses your true opinion in just three intense strokes of your guitar. Have fun with it. But keep it relevant.
5. Embrace Your Critics.
Hendrix was criticised endlessly. From being accused of ripping off the blues greats, to mocking America, to being too shy to ever really be a great star.
Through it all, he stayed true to his art and never shied away from questioning.
So, if someone vehemently disagrees with your opinion, your belief, or some content you’ve shared, take the high road. Take your ego out of it and consider where they’re coming from.
Do they have a valid point? Or at least enough of one to open your mind to new possibilities? As best you can, respond with respect – even if that simply means agreeing to disagree. Who knows? You might learn something valuable about yourself from the debate.
If you’re hesitating or holding back, do it for Jimi – who no doubt was writing about LinkedIn content when he uttered this famous line:
“Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.”