It’s interesting when you start to look at the idea of personal PR, and how you advertise yourself to the world. A lot of people might immediately reach for the example of what they are doing with their social media; their Facebook or the blog they infrequently update; but how many of them would talk to you of how they take care of themselves?
Socializing as an idea has been distorted more than a little by social media, and the word friend is a term that is bandied about quite casually, while its meaning has been somewhat watered down by the ease with which it is applied to Facebook acquaintances. But when you are actually meeting people face to face, does your appearance advertise you as well as that picture you picked for your avatar does?
Do you take pride in your personal appearance? How is your hygiene? When people look at you and interact with you, do they come away with a good first impression, or do you make the kind of lasting impression that no one really wants to make?
Your bum on the street is constantly rocking up to people and asking them for money – it takes a lot of confront, and sometimes they get lucky, but the means they employ to get their money are not based usually on what one would call good advertising. They might have a humorous sign or some routine that they have down pat, but the message that they send by their appearance usually communicates that they have fallen on hard times.
If you don’t shave; if your nails are bitten to the quick; if your teeth aren’t clean; if your clothes are raggedy and your shoes are scuffed; if you fail to take care in any number of ways of your personal appearance, then what message do you think you are sending? What are you advertising about yourself?
You can see when someone is looking sharp, and most people do respond to that. If someone takes care of themselves you have confidence that in whatever arena you are dealing with them, that they are more likely to take care in what they are doing. Someone might have a pretty fat wallet, and be able to buy the latest piece of tech, that in theory makes them cool, but if they come across like a lazy dirty bum that just rolled out of bed and threw on some clothes they had stored in a pile on the carpet, then you are going to think twice about trusting them with anything beyond eating the burritos their food-stained shirt suggest they like.
Attitude and presentation speak volumes. A woman’s make up, a teenager’s pins on their jacket, a biker’s tattoos: all these things speak to the short-hand way we have of communicating with the world. We are our own billboards. Facebook and Myspace, and whatever electronic network we are plugged into serve a function and represent one node of the huge communication system we are part of, but if the public online persona does not match the in-the-flesh reality then we are guilty of that big PR no-no: false advertising.