Embarrassing my kids by my actions is an activity I’ve enjoyed for many years. Not intentionally, it just happens as a father. At least, to me. Yesterday, though, embarrassing myself on Facebook by updating my profile and cover photos was a new experience for me.
I think my idea was okay. It just so many times comes down to execution! Here’s what happened.
A chance encounter at a meeting gives me pause
Last weekend, the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting was in New Orleans, Louisiana and I attended. (Number 26 for anyone keeping count – me.) On the convention floor, I bumped into an Ophthalmologist friend of mine, he gave me a hearty greeting and bellowed out, “I love seeing all the pictures of you fishing in Canada on Facebook.”
Incredulously, I responded, “Dan, I haven’t been fishing in Canada for a long time. What are you talking about?” He said, “Well, that picture of you in that red coat holding that big fish that pops up all the time when I’m on Facebook.” Ah.
I explained to him that was a ten-year-old picture and I used it as a profile photo because I came across it on my computer, liked it and was nostalgic about Walleye fishing in Canada. Once we got that straightened around, we had a nice chat, caught up and moved on.
“I better get that profile photo changed”
If one person thinks something, is it likely others think the same? Maybe. In this case, I figured it was time to spruce-up my Facebook profile file. Embarrassing myself on Facebook wasn’t part of the plan, though.
Last summer, after reading a book about building your own brand and the importance of a professional image, I had some professional photos taken to use on the various digital platforms I use. Doing that was a whole other, “thing.” My wife, Jean, endured my quasi-narcissism, recommended I use a friend of our daughter, Anne, named Grace Vo and off to St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis we went.
While we were doing the shooting, Grace did a good job of making me feel at ease until some guy walked by and said to the woman with him, “Graduation Pictures?” and laughed. After that, I was a little self-conscious. Oh, thin-skin be damned.
A witty and long-time friend quickly seizes on an opportunity
Cate Smith Abbott is my wife’s “Bestie” from college, one of the smartest people I know and capable of turning a witty phrase quicker than Donald Trump can tap-out inane tweets. Here’s what happened: Approximately 30 seconds after my photo went up, Cate posted: “That’s what I’m talking about, ladies. 😍”
Other comments ensued because, as usual, Cate got things started. It’s embarrassing because I thought I was simply updating a profile picture, and while I was there, changing the cover photo, too. It made me look vain, to say-the-least.
What’s nice also, is Cate’s sense of comedic timing. She’s a master. She waited for the comments to slow down and then posted a comment this morning on Thanksgiving Day: “Cate Smith Abbott I’m grateful for this photo today.🦊” For years she’s loved to watch me squirm with her comments. And what’s even funnier is when her husband, Matt Abbott, and my wife, Jean, laugh and shake their heads as Cate needles me.
I am flattered by Cates’s comments, and as far as the others, I know they’re not serious and still it’s been a humbling experience. To all of you, I really wasn’t fishing for compliments by posting the photos…
And, yes, Jim Sutherland, I imagine the photo will make a nice great American novel back cover photo. Thanks for the idea – I just have to write it!
Working “Brand You” and “Platform You”
Whether you want to call it “Brand You” or “Platform You” it’s pretty much the same thing. These places we post thoughts, ideas, likes and personal exchanges create a digital footprint of who we are. That sounds trite, I know. Unfortunately, it’s true. Good, or bad…
I am interested in this topic and I’m reading about it a lot. Also, I coach members of our team at Sightpath Medical that everyone needs a platform and the only one who can develop it is “you.” Sometimes, I probably get a little “preachy” about it and I hope they know my intentions are good.
A good one I’m reading right now is Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark.