Last Tuesday evening, while driving home from an all-day meeting with a client, I picked up a voice mail from a woman who left her name and number and asked me to call her back. She didn’t mention the reason that she was calling, but since I recognized an Orange County extension, I called.
She answered, I told her who I was, and that I was returning her call. “What can I do for you?” I asked.
“Well, I really don’t know,” she said, sounding slightly annoyed. “_____ told me to contact you.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “That name doesn’t sound familiar to me.”
“I knew something like this was going to happen!” she said, clearly agitated, but persevering through some awkward obligation to her friend. “What do you do?” she asked impatiently.
“I call myself a New Media Evangelist,” I said. “I help companies adopt New Media technologies.”
She let out a breath in frustration. “That’s what I do!”
I got the distinct impression that she saw no value in talking with ANOTHER New Media person in Orange County. Heavens forbid. We can’t help each other. We can’t learn from one another. Heck, we might even be competitors!
Instead of hanging up as I probably should have, I attempted to thaw her chilly demeanor. “So what do you do?” I asked.
Coldly, she explained that she was a public speaker and consultant specializing in Social Media.
“You’re right,” I said, hoping to show some solidarity. “We do the same thing. As a matter of fact, I’m speaking at the Ragan Communications Conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.”
The pause at the other end of the phone was painfully uncomfortable, so I decided to cut my losses. “Well, maybe we’ll get a chance to meet at conference some time.”
As we hung up, I wondered aloud, “What the hell was that?” The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to look into her credentials–information that was a simple Google Search away.
I found a Facebook page, a Linked-In page, and after a little digging found that she uses Twitter. I found a website that houses a blog that she’s been writing for about a year and learned that she offers courses on how to write Facebook and Linked-in pages. She belongs to some organizations and speaks at the local Chamber of Commerce. In all honesty, she had some excellent personal branding stuff online. I got a feel for what she was all about…with the exception of one thing:
Her “online” personality didn’t match her “live” one.
I’m left wondering which is her real personality? Is she active and engaged, or cold and distanced?
I’m hoping that I just caught her on a bad day and that she is as smart and engaging as her online properties reflect her to be. Perhaps we will run into each other at a conference and I can find out who she really is.
Be consistent across all of your communications channels…new and old.
Photo Credit: nickfarnhill