Social media is just a flick of finger away for many people. Whether you have a smart phone, iPad, or laptop computer, people are sharing their thoughts and photos faster than ever. But have you ever thought about the perceptions you're sending to so many people?
We had two Twitter users sit down to see what they think about each other's tweets and whether they could peg each other's personalities.
It may not look like a lot of information, but at first glance, a Twitter account can tell a lot about a person.
"Just, even his title; he says, 'owner and lead strategist at Fused Interactive.' He's probably in marketing; just even from the picture seems like a good dude. Somebody, I mean, that you'd want to grab a cup of coffee with," Embrace Church Pastor and Twitter user Adam Weber said.
"Yeah that's completely the right perception of myself, especially the coffee part because I might have a slight addiction to that," owner of Fused Interactive and Twitter user Brain Brua said.
Brua usually spends 12 to 14 hours a day online. After all, it is his job. And in the marketing world, perceptions are everything. We asked Weber to take a look at his tweets.
"'US post office has recycling bins directly next to their PO boxes. It's like a "delete this" button at top of an email campaign.' That's actually pretty good. Seems like a good dude that doesn't take himself too seriously ... 'Life goal: lick my way to the center of a tootsie pop without biting it.' That's a life goal of mine also," Weber laughed.
Weber's perception of Brua being laid back was spot on; as was Brua's perception of Weber.
"Looking through Adam's profile here, first glance, I always just check his bio on the top of his Twitter page. 'Husband, dad, friend, follower of Christ, pastor @iamembrace.' Obviously a family man, pastor, religious," Brua said.
Being a pastor, religion tends to stream to the surface. Weber likes to speak from the heart on Twitter and let people know pastors are just like anyone else.
"Yeah, it's surprising to know a pastor is so engaged socially online. But it's kind of cool, it's a great opportunity. He's going to have to reach those younger generations, kind of the youth, which is a difficult group of people to reach," Brua said.
And it appears to be working, the majority of Weber's congregation is fairly young. It's just another example of how these two Twitter users were able to figure each other out fairly quickly. Their perceptions were positive, but that isn't always the case.
"You'll be able to set an impression with that person before you even meet them, whether that's positive or negative, it can go either way," Brua said.
If something is taken out of context or is inconsiderate, both men say a preconceived notion is easy to make.
"I think you definitely need to think about something before you share it and, you know, 'is this going to embarrass someone else?' especially if someone else is involved or there are relationships involved. Like 'gosh out of respect for them, I really want to hold back this,'" Weber said.
Your personal online profile isn't the only thing that can be judged. The wrong Facebook post or tweet from a business could send potential customers in a completely different direction.
"From a business perspective, it's just very important for companies to just kind of define, you know, what your goal is on twitter before you just start tweeting a bunch of random thoughts," Brua said.
Brua also says in today's 24-7 business world, if a Facebook question or tweet goes unanswered for a few days, that's probably a lost customer. But it really comes down to thinking before clicking.
"In a way it's a self PR thing. You know, like, 'is this something?' And I think that's something we always have to think through, 'am I sharing too much or am I not?'" Weber asked.
"It's just a very public outlet and how you use it is up to you. And if you want to be one of those people that shares important information all day, that's great. If you want to use it as a very public chat tool, that's fine, too. Just know that some of those come with consequences," Brua said.
But many Twitter users say the positives outweigh the negatives.
Both men agreed it's all about being yourself and remembering that others are watching, including possible employers.