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Chris Mohawk Have His Identity Changed by LinkedIn
My son was worried about me. We used to talk regularly when he was living in Singapore but when he moved to Shanghai he scanned the internet to see how I was doing. A business development guy, he saw that I wasn't doing enough networking. So the other day, a delivery man knocked on my door and gave me a book: LinkedIn Mastery for Entrepreneurs. The message was "get off your ass, Dad."

Always becoming

From my son's point of view, I wasn't managing my professional identity. Now identity is something I'm supposed to know about. I studied it in philosophy. I set up a company to provide personal development tools and programmes that use identity. I wrote about identity in my books. But when I unwrapped the book and leafed through the pages, I saw that he was right. With the advances in technology, I wasn't managing identity professionally.

Imagine yourself at age 70 -- I'm not quite there yet but it's getting real close. You have long years of experience but that's already behind you. When you are in a meeting or a conference, you are the oldest one in the room. You don't know how other people see you. You don't have role models except for a few people who have kept going until eighty and even ninety. Suddenly it dawns on you that you are the exception. The others have settled into being and you are still becoming. Who are you now?

Which brings me to Linkedin. Reading the book, I realised that this was really a tool for managing identity. Why does it work? We've known since the 1930's, thanks to sociologist and philosopher George Herbert Mead, that identity is essentially social. With LinkedIn and other social media, we are constantly getting feedback from others.

George Herbert Mead's classic Mind, Self and Society, published in 1934, proved that identity is essentially social.

With Linkedin our professional identity is constantly becoming and, if we manage it, constantly getting stronger.

We also have known since 1973 that having a network of people you don't know very well gets you further than spending all your time with people you know well. That was demonstrated in Mark Granovetter's article "the Strength of Weak Ties" which became a Harvard classic. Using Linkedin to build those weak ties is what everyone needs to do if they are in a market.

The enterprise of self

Reading Chris Reed's book was an eye-opener to me because he explained dimensions of LinkedIn that I didn't know existed. I was so impressed that I decided to go and meet him, as he also lived in Singapore. I didn't know that he had actually built a special Linkedin agency called Black Marketing that is now a Nasdaq company.

If you are not using the advanced tools on LinkedIn like sales navigator, and getting the analytic data about yourself, you are not managing your identity. -- Chris Reed:

I walked into a very modern meeting room and Chris came in with his characteristic black teeshirt. We chatted a bit and he signed my copy of his book.

Then he excused himself and went to get a laptop which had a wireless connection to the meeting room screen. Up popped my Linkedin profile.

He looked at my profile picture. "Flowers..." I looked at his mohawk. "Purple ..."

Then he got down to business. Not using the sales navigator? Too cheap to pay the premium fee which allows you to reach out to more than 400 million people? Don't have a company page? It's free. Don't show any slides or pictures when you give a speech? Just one video? Don't promote the posts of other people on Pulse?

Actually, he didn't say it that way. He didn't have to say anything. Just flipping through my pages said it for him.

We looked at some other Linkedin profiles of people we both knew. That made me feel better. And then we ran out of time.

But that was enough to get me where I needed to be. That encounter allowed me to realise that I had to invest in my professional identity and I now had a tool at my disposal to manage it.
All these social media are trying to be funny, last week I liked some page without clicking on it.

They need to stop doing things on our behalf!

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