opinion

Online Branding And Customer-Fan Interaction

Kelly Shibari

I recently had an interesting email conversation with a guy who was trying to ask me out. For those of us with a large online presence, we’re lucky enough to meet all sorts of amazing (and some not-so-amazing) people. For the most part, people are polite, well-mannered (if not always so great with their grammar), and don’t treat me like the socially accepted manner in which they think porn talent should be treated.

The guy who contacted me elected to send me an email in order to introduce himself. It was well-written and well-conceived, and I thought to myself, “Hey, here’s a polite gentleman who is interested in getting to know me better.”

Is your online presence set up properly? Do your followers and friends see your real personality? If not, then why?

Because my presence online involves my image (and more depending on the website, haha) and a lot of posts that show my personality, I asked if he could provide something more than words. A Facebook profile, perhaps? His email didn’t have any photo attachment. I told him that people don’t necessarily use accurate photos as attachments, so a Facebook or some other profile site would be preferable. While I waited, I went ahead and Googled his email address, which took me to his MySpace page.

Unfortunately, what I found there was not a well-spoken gentleman but a guy who perpetuated the negative aspects of the “rapper lifestyle” that I personally don’t find attractive. No offense to rappers, of course, and there are plenty of other women that might find that sort of thing attractive. But it’s not my thing. Nevertheless, I waited for his response to my email.

He didn’t send a profile link of any kind in his response despite my request, but continued to tell me that we should be dating. He claimed that he found me through Twitter and that we should keep talking to see “where things would go.”

I decided to refer to his MySpace page so that he knew that I had been able to find it without him. I also looked at his Twitter timeline. His interactions with people on both sites helped make my decision that he just wasn’t the right person for me, and I told him so.

His response? That he was “misunderstood,” and terminated our conversation. He then went on Twitter to say that women with power are basically idiots – that men in power expect it, but women in power don’t. He confirmed my gut instinct that this was not a case of “misunderstanding” but that he was exactly the kind of guy I thought he was – a misogynist that thinks that women and men are not equal, and someone whose vernacular includes profanity on such a regular basis that I would be uncomfortable around him.

You hear about people getting fired because of their Facebook presence on a regular basis in the news. People’s Tweets, MySpace status updates, and Facebook photos are regularly perused to see what a person is like – through comments, posts and photos we are allowed a glimpse into the life of the person we are meeting online.

Our online profiles are part of our brand. It’s our calling card when meeting new people. The people we meet make judgments and assumptions about the kind of people we are based on how we choose to present ourselves online.

In the case of rappers (since I mentioned it above), I tend not to make generalities. Even though many of them choose to “entertain” us with songs of heavy alcohol and drug use, and use profanity and derogatory terms to describe women and other rappers, some make sure that their online presence is anything but.

I do the same thing, to an extent. People who only look at scenes that I may do may have a preconceived notion of the kind of girl I am, but if they choose to see my online profiles and interact with me online, they learn that I’m a nerdy dork that listens to the BeeGees and Foreigner as well as Eminem, ‘80s hair metal and country music, tries to be sweet and helpful as much as possible (even though it may kick me in the ass more often than not), and loves my fans (well maybe not literally, given my profession). I typically don’t swear online and try to make sure that my NSFW posts are labeled that way so that my online friends don’t lose their jobs. But I’m as real as I can get, and don’t put on a front (I tried that when I first started on Twitter and found it ridiculously boring). I chide people that treat me like a slutty whore (their perception of how they should treat someone in porn) and usually just tell them that just because I’m in XXX, it doesn’t mean that they should treat me as a lesser person. I have intelligent conversations that showcase my college education because it would be disrespectful to my parents as well as me to dumb things down. On the other hand, I can dork out with the best of them. Over time, people learn that my XXX persona is a role that I play for entertainment purposes, but not who I am 24/7.

The guy who contacted me about a date either tried to be fake to me or fake to his online followers. It doesn’t matter to me if he is a misogynist or not (that’s his unfortunate choice) —but if he actually isn’t, he should be himself with his online followers, because he could be denying himself the kind of friends he actually would prefer to have.

Is your online presence set up properly? Do your followers and friends see your real personality? If not, then why?

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