Why Your Online Self Should Align With Your In-Person Self

by Lindsey Lazarte

There’s nothing worse than being disappointed when your expectations don’t align with reality.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often now when it comes to human connection. The Internet has allowed us to create somewhat of an alter ego in the form of our digital personas.

Ever since the creation of social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, OkCupid and so on, the ways in which we communicate have significantly changed.

People are able to control how much or how little they present about themselves, which can either be a good or bad thing.

Have you ever been on a bad blind date? How about that awful OkCupid experience that pushed you over the edge, and you ended up deleting your account? I’m sure some of you are nodding your heads.

You had such high hopes. Their profiles matched every item on your checklists; they were extremely photogenic in their pictures, and you had a great “online chemistry."

However, when it came to the actual meet-and-greet, it was an epic failure.

I’ve heard a countless number of stories in which this has happened, and I can’t quite say I’m surprised.

People will only disclose how much they want to in order to make themselves seem a certain way, to make people like them, or to make themselves seem more appealing.

The truth is you never really get to know someone until you meet face-to-face.

In our day and age, one of the most important factors that will either make or break a brand is the way in which social media is used and how often it is used.

There are many brands today which have been built from the ground-up solely based on their social following.

But, the key thing to keep in mind is that when people expect you to deliver, you better make sure you deliver.

I recently experienced one of those disappointing moments when a brand’s online personification didn’t quite align its the true profile.

I’m what you would call “brand loyal." I will fully support a brand I like, and I will not so much as sample its competitor’s products.

I recently became a fan of one particular brand based on the fact that I was captivated by the excellent branding and marketing tactics.

I followed the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I admired its creative strategy.

When I finally mustered up the courage to buy its product, I was ecstatic to say I was an actual customer.

When I first went into one of the retail stores in the city, I was overwhelmed by the visual layout. I made my purchase and had to wait to pick up the product in a few weeks.

For the entire time I was waiting, I had been communicating with the brand via social media about how excited I was to go back.

When it came time for me to pick up my order, I was extremely disappointed to receive sub-par customer service.

I didn’t understand how one brand could be so friendly and receptive online, but then have employees who didn’t live up to the reputation in person. Low and behold, I regretted my purchasing decision.

I will give the brand the benefit of the doubt by keeping the company name anonymous, but my advice is this:

Make sure your online persona aligns with what you offer in-person.

This goes out to anyone who has received a job interview through LinkedIn, those lovebirds who are going on their first OkCupid date or to a company that presents itself as customer-friendly on the Internet.

Although it’s true you can’t please everyone, and some people may just have unrealistic expectations, be choosey with how you portray yourself online. Keep in mind, people notice everything.