I have talked to Everett Bogue on Skype, and I must confess, it was quite a dialogue. He was talking about Cyborgs and his revolution of humanity, and the first question that came to my mind was: What kind of pills did he slip into his muesli ?
But as I contemplated the idea of a new, digital self, I felt compelled to write this post.
Technology changes the way we act as humans. Not only do we influence the internet, the internet influences us as well – it’s a symbiosis that’s constantly evolving.
Ev calls that “new” form of human being Cyborg, but that reminds me a bit too much of Star Trek and the time traveling Terminator with the funny accent.
It’s more a digital self, that impacts the digital world. Every time you tweet, send a message or create online content – you are harnessing the power of your digital alter ego.
It goes beyond the flesh, and in fact, don’t treat yourself like a smelly piece of meat that’s sitting in front of the computer all day. Treat your online self – the entity that’s rocking through the internet – like your SECOND persona. And that alter ego – let’s call it your Digital Persona – represents your real self in the digital world. But why the separation ?
Here’s the simple answer: because you can AND will do amazing things.
Your real self is stuffed with doubts and problems carried over from society. When that confused self goes online, it’s still acting in a similar way. Instead of treating the online world like a blank new slate, you will carry your garbage from the real world and thus neglect your AWESOME creative abilities. But if you look at your online self as a new opportunity, you will at how much potential you have access to.
SO, in fact you can say that your Digital Persona is your BETTER SELF – the desired version of you that you want to eventually become in the real world.
And the funny thing is : The more awesome you make your Digital Persona, the more awesome you will be in the real world. It eventually merges and becomes ONE.
When I started my online ventures, I used to quite “average”, even for my standards. I followed common advice, wrote “safe” posts and acted like a carbon copy. Then I found awesome blogs like Ashley’s the middlefingerproject and Naomi’s Ittybiz, and I said to myself:
FUCK IT. It’s going to be my style 100% or NOTHING !
And THAT was the moment when I started building my awesome Digital Persona. I made my online presence MORE awesome than my actual self – Mars Dorian online was more passionate, risk-taking and creative than the Mars Dorian in the offline world.
And you know what happened ?
By showing my BEST self online ( the persona that is more outrageous, passionate and risk-taking), I actually became that persona in the REAL world !
Creating an awesome Digital Persona will make you more successful in BOTH worlds.
So enough with the chitchat. How do you create a digital Persona that’s both awesome and influential ?
0) Your persona needs a purpose. A clear direction of where to go. If it’s “just” flying around like a drunken bird with no clarity, you will end up NOWHERE ! Only when you use your persona for a CLEAR reason – the “why” of its digital existence !
To fully understand this concept, and to find your persona’s why, read my article:
I promise you, it’s the MOST important thing of your online existence !
1) Your Digital Persona has to have the “Look”.
“Never judge a book by its cover” – I don’t know which tree hugger came with that line, but his mind must have visited the fairy land and never fully returned. OF COURSE we judge a book by its cover – and not just the book. If your Digital Persona has a butt-ugly site, Twitter and Facebook profile, OF COURSE you are going to deter people.
Come on, it’s just like in the offline world. Imagine you visit the parents of your partner for the first time. Would you go there all dirty-looking like a tramp who’s living in a McDonald’s dumpster ? OF COURSE not ! You would dress yourself accordingly. Don’t treat your digital persona any different !
- Have your basic “brand” colors on EVERY platform your persona is involved. If it happens to be blue, then BLUE everything up – your site, your profiles and messages.
- Style your persona in a why that evokes an emotion. If you are passionate, show it in your design – can you show warm colors (yellow, orange,red) ? Can you make your design ECSTATIC and ENERGETIC ? You must. Or do you prefer the clean, corporate look ? Then go for clean, neutral colors (blue, white, grey) and make everything slick and basic. The way you design your persona determines the EMOTIONAL effect you are going to have on people !
Check out Ramit Sethi’s I will teach you to be rich. He’s using this principle in the most BASIC form, but it works. His brand color is obviously GREEN, and look how OFTEN he uses on the different parts of his site.
2) It needs constant pushing to evolve. A digital persona that’s stiff and stale will eventually die, just like any other living organism. In order for it to flourish, it needs to expand, and the best way to expand is to increase its comfort zone.
The more ideas, experiments and projects your digital self starts, the better. The experience it will gain is PRICELESS – and it will use that knowledge to successfully manage new projects and ventures. ALWAYS stretch the current abilities of your persona – PUSH PUSH PUSH !
LEARN one NEW thing every single day ! GO OUT and make NEW connections.
DO ONE thing EVERY SINGLE DAY that stretches your current ability.
GROW, GROW, TRIPLE GROW !
3) A digital Persona needs INTERACTION to flourish and spread. It’s the food it needs to survive in the digital realm. And not just any food, it has to be NOURISHING. You wouldn’t put junk food into your human body if you needed more energy, so don’t feed junk communication to your digital self. Let it build high quality relationships with DO-ers and makers – other digital Personas that want to move forward and impact the world in one way or another.
Meeting the flesh versions of other awesome personas like Fabian Kruse from the friendly Anarchist and Raam Dev has helped me to open my my (digital) mind and enabled my persona to reach kick-ass individuals that I WOULD HAVE NEVER MET IN THE REAL WORLD.
4) A Digital Persona needs constant creativity and inspiration. Like I said, once your persona is stale, it dies. When there’s no new content and interaction happening, it will be forgotten. NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN ! Creating a digital box – a folder on your computer that’s called a SWIPE file, you will make sure that your persona never runs out of ideas EVER AGAIN.
Your digital swipe file is simply a folder, where you let your digital self collect valuable content from the web. You then store this copy-and-pasted material from the internet in your folder, and whenever your persona needs inspiration in product and content creation, it can use the treasure from your folder.
My digital folder includes over:
- 100 + headlines,
- 65 + images for blog design, and about
- 100 + pictures for personal branding inspiration.
Whenever I’m stuck with creating something, I dive into my inspirational treasure box. Most of the stuff my Digital Persona created comes from THIS resource.
5) LEAVE your Digital Persona every day. And the best way to do that is to separate it from it’s fleshy counterpart – YOU !
Everyday, aim for a conscious DISCONNECTION between you and your digital self. Go out, talk with REAL people, do exercise, EXPERIENCE THE TANGIBLE WORLD !
DO something for a few hours that’s not DIGITALLY related. Your true body will recharge it’s organic powers, and you will experience a new level of FRESHNESS once you connect with your Digital Persona again !
6) The shortest connection between two personas is a link.
Including links in your content and digital goods is the most awesome way to compliment a like-minded persona. If you include one for your peers, it means this :
I luv your persona. The message you send out with it is awesome. I want to support your spreading by featuring a link in my part of the online world (aka my site).
Link to your peers and grow your persona community together. If I like other people’s personas, I let them now PUBLICLY. And yes, that includes you Steve Kamb, Cori from biggirlbranding and Farnoosh from Prolificliving !
Share the digital love, and support your fellow personas !
7) Daily attention = Digital Persona Domination. And even though you DO have a real life, MAKE SURE that you do something for your DIGITAL PERSONA every single day.
Little, constant attention and care is WAY BETTER than once-in-a-while attention that’s MASSIVE.
Even if you real self is busy as heck, try to allocate at LEAST 10 – 20 mins to your Persona. It could be tweaking your Twitter profile, answering the emails or writing a few messages.
KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM OF YOUR DIGITAL SELF – EVERY SINGLE DAY.
8) A digital persona has to profit you. Time’s precious, and your digital persona will only live as long as you live. So, in order to make that stay worthwhile, use it effectively.
Think about how your persona can both profit YOU and make the world a better place at the same time !
The importance REALLY lies in the mutual benefit. If your persona only does things to please others, it will deteriorate. It will bend itself so hard that it eventually breaks. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRK.
On the other hand, if you only let it care about itself, it will be too self-absorbed and lose the connection to the world.
The golden rule is to combine both the self-interest and the mutual impact it can create. Only when it finds the right mix will it shine like a signal in a black ocean.
What have I missed ? What do you think about the concept of treating your online self as your digital alter ego ? What do you do for YOUR Digital Persona to make it flourish and dominate the interwebs ?
And share this message with your friends. This idea needs to spread.