Spread Yourself Thick

In light of economic uncertainty, the unemployed are fighting back by striking out on their own. Taking advantage of social media forums like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, people are marketing themselves as their own company. Through social networking, individual style, and professional expertise they are marketing to niches previously untapped.

Michael Calienes, creator of the “Spread Yourself Thick” campaign, is one of many bitten by the Twitter bug. For Calienes, Twitter is where “Old school relationships meets new school technology and that’s all this is. It’s about relationships.”

This digital take on relationships is tempting with its promise of fun and familiarity, but this carefree media does come at a price: transparency.

Calienes was one of many who experienced a lay-off and needed a way to redefine himself for the job market. While stopped at a red light in front of a Wal-Mart, he was struck by an epiphany when the term “Presence Engineer” came to mind.

“You’re engineering your own presence,” says Calienes, “because everywhere you go on the web you leave text, you leave images, you leave video, you leave links, you leave comments. If you think about that—all that stuff that gets left out on the web—if you take all that out, that is your online presence, and believe me, Google never forgets.”

This digital take on relationships is tempting with its promise of fun and familiarity, but this carefree media does come at a price: transparency.

“It’s transparent relationships. It’s not about the cool sales guy. It’s about real honest relationships. The people who follow me on Twitter, I feel like they follow me because it’s a mix of personal humor—and I hope—business savvy.” If you are found to be lacking in the integrity department, Twitter users will surely let the community know.

“This is about creating a presence that attracts. So basically it’s not about push anymore, it’s not push marketing, it’s pull. You’re being yourself online in order to attract people. You’re not pushing your product. The ultimate goal is to shake hands, to have a conversation, a real live conversation with people.”

“Receiving a beer via Twitter showed me that this isn’t just an online play. It’s the perfect bridge between the virtual and the real.”

Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, sent a tweet that he was at a cafe and if anyone came to meet him he would buy him or her a beer. Calienes tracked down the cafe online, called the bartender and purchased a beer for Brogan instead. For $5.40, Calienes made himself the talk of Twitter town, gaining more followers and increasing his network in the process.

For Brogan, “Receiving a beer via Twitter showed me that this isn’t just an online play. It’s the perfect bridge between the virtual and the real.”

Calienes urges others to not be afraid of taking a chance to explore this venue of social networking. He suggests jumping into the fray. Start learning what the links to articles, information, knowledge and best practices are all about as it’s “just unbelievable what you can learn in a very short amount of time.”

Some people share really good information and it’s those people that you really want to align yourself with.

Just like other social media forums like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and now Periscope, Twitter is a basic tool to connect, so be sure that whatever application you choose to use, your target audience also uses it.

“So just listen to what you need, which means sign up and watch. Follow people, friend people and watch how they’re using it. You’ll quickly realize how some people use it as a fast-talking sales tool. Some people use it as, ‘Hey, wassup? Having a cup of water.’ Some people share really good information and it’s those people that you really want to align yourself with.”

As computers boot up across the world, with their glowing screens the symbolic “light at the end of the tunnel,” many are finding their own voices in the repressed economic quiet, bringing the silence to an end.

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