Thinking About Authenticity

I realize that mentioning authenticity may seem cliche, and Laurie of Punk Rock HR is sick of thinking about it, but every where I go I hear people talk about being authentic. Comments I heard at the “HR Bloggers – Who Are These People and Why Should You Care?” session at the SHRM conference in New Orleans included the following.

  • Tell your own story. He is who he is in person and on his blog. – from @thelance
  • It’s easier to be yourself when you blog. – from @jessica_lee
  • If you can’t be yourself when you blog, you’re working for the wrong company. – from @lruettimann
  • Risk adverse companies may push a blogger to go anonymous. – from @kris_dunn

Mark, Laurie, Gary and Kari (Stelzner)

I work from home so for me my social outlets are my cats, my Cool Works partners via IM and GTalk, my twitter friends, other social networking peeps, and the employers with whom I work. However, from June 20 to July 2, I got full face-to-face (f2f) social experience because of two planned trips, one for Cool Works through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and one for me / Cool Works for the annual SHRM conference in New Orleans. In some ways, it’s too bad that the trips couldn’t have been spread further apart to maintain my “contact high,” but in some ways, I think that running so hard and fast kept my brain at the proper pace to absorb all of the energy from each event. Lots of goodness was received from each trip.

Cool Works Meetup Wrap Ups – Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV (Final) 

SHRM Wrap Up – For Three Strange Days…at SHRM – Conference Wrap Up

P, Jayden, Q and Richard

Now being self-absorbed for just a moment, I think I’m fairly authentic. The writing me and the talking me are the same. Comments from people I met on both trips support my belief, and frankly, really made my day(s). Back at you folks! Some examples:

  • From a member of our My Cool Works social network after meeting me at Lake in Yellowstone National Park – “Lovely meeting you kari. i think i felt your energy before i saw you, and as you passed, i’m pretty sure i could have grabbed the electrons in your outer orbit. i’m very happy that you were you. i wish you more luck in life than even an unreasonable person could expect.” [WOW]
  • “I feel the same about @lruettimann, @kariquaas. She would ask the same Q’s in person that she does on her blog.” 9:47 AM Jul 1st from web@leanneclc – Leanne Chase
  • @kariquaas – I will never *ever* mispronounce your name again. You’re a wonderfully interesting person & it was great mtg you! #SHRM09″ 3:13 PM Jul 2nd from web@stelzner – Mark Stelzner
  • “How did @kariquaas get so awesome?” 11:35 PM Jun 29th from twhirl@SBWorkforce – SmartBriefWorkforce, aka Mary Ellen Slayter, whose writing I love!

Needless to say, but I’m flattered and happy that who I am online is who I am in person. I am me. If you don’t like me, don’t follow me. It’s almost like @Animal‘s line of “If you’re sensitive, don’t follow me” on twitter. Being true to oneself is so critical. Like Kris Dunn of HR Capitalist said during the panel, blogging is about having an opinion, taking a stand and critical thinking. In addition to that I would like to state that sometimes it’s hard enough to clarify my own thoughts so why on earth would I want to add the challenge of trying to think like someone else. Writing as yourself is easier, and also helps to develop your personal brand, a topic for another day.

So, therein lies the challenge to you. Are you you? If yes, great. If not, why not? Do you write as yourself or try to be someone else? If you write as yourself, good for you. If not, who else are you trying to be?


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