For those who are new to my blog, you might not know that I’m a Dutch Australian – originally born in Australia and spent most of my life there, but married a Dutch man and now live in The Hague, The Netherlands.
I’ve been learning Dutch (Nederlands) for some time, and can understand it fairly well – I had to pass a certain level of competency in reading, writing, listening and speaking to gain my Dutch citizenship. However, until last week, I have not read through an entire book in the Dutch language (well not including Dutch langauge lesson books and children’s books). Now I have!
Ik.nl: wie wil je zijn op internet by Carlijn Postma attracted me at the library with the very obviously social media related content. The title translated into English would me similar to “Me.com – Who do you want to be on the Internet?”
At 119 pages, it’s not a difficult read for those who are fluent in Dutch, you could probably read it in one sitting if you’re a true “Nederlander”. I took a couple of days, with a handy iPad app to translate any Dutch words I was unsure of into English!
With my own passion for and experience with social media, I was already familiar with most of the content and tips however it was still an enjoyable and useful read. Published in mid 2011 (more than two years ago now), a few of the statistics are out of date but the essence is still valid.
After several years of working in this industry as Australian-based, and having more recently established the Zestee Social Media School in The Netherlands, I particularly appreciated a “local” perspective on social media. I’m pleased to say that as I thought, social media truly is international and there is little difference.
The general message is that we all need to manage our personal brand on the internet – also sometimes known as “me-marketing”. Even the fact that you choose NOT to have profiles online on the major social media networks can say volumes about you, also known as being “digitale dakloos” (digitally homeless!)
The author talks about creating and communicating clear messages about who you are and what you stand for and remaining consistent with this. I completely agree with the advice stressed several times – that you need to “nourish your network” and share your knowledge, not simply try to “sell, sell, sell” online. That said, you still need to be clear about your skills and expertise.
Ik.nl is full of information, tips and tricks to maximise social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hyves. Several other useful online tools are also mentioned, such as Slideshare, Prezi, About.Me, Klout and more, including some specific to The Netherlands.
It is written with the individual in mind but also dedicates significant attention to the impact individuals have online in as a part of a business or organisation.
There are a number of short interviews scattered throughout the book to give additional perspectives of the use of social media in practice.
One exercise suggested asking your network to share words relating to their impressions of you, then translating this into a “word cloud”. Take a look at my post What is Your Word Cloud? to see mine and create your own!
Keeping in line with the Dutch cultural quality of being very practical, important issues such as online privacy, time management, the separation of work and private life and even what may happen to your profiles after your death are covered in the book.
There doesn’t seem to be an english translation available, so if you are not able to read Dutch, this blog post will at least give you a short summary of the content. If you are native Dutch or like me, have mastered enough to get through, then I’d recommend a read.
As you would expect from a social media specialist, author Carlijn Postma is easy to find on Twitter as @carlijnpostma. I’m off to tweet her now to thank her for a useful contribution to anyone who would like to learn more about social media basics and the importance – and power of – managing your own brand well online.