I just recently set up a second Twitter (@S_Horv) account for strictly professional reasons so that I could tweet work-related information, updates, social media happenings, etc. The first account I established was a personal account. However, over time, the personal account turned into more tweeting about things related specifically to my area of expertise than personal happenings. In addition, I’ve also mixed in personal things that aren’t related to work. But, I’m constantly wanting to share more and more about what I’m directly doing at work related to those topics. However, the mixture of my professional knowledge of work and my personal life often make me feel uneasy. It’s that uneasiness which led me to creating the second account and to writing this blog post.
I’m the type of person who really wants to have a clear line between my personal life and professional life. Experiences in the distant past, prior to social media, really encouraged me to move that direction. But the lines between personal and professional are severely blurred because of social media. This is because when you spend the majority of your day, month, year, and life “on the job,” the interactions you have with others often relate to your job. As that happens, you build friendships outside of work that are based upon work related topics, and end up collaborating on those topics. At that point the line has blurred. Naturally, you take those relationships into your personal social media use, but you’re still discussing work related information.
For some this may be just dandy (yes, I said “dandy). For me, I cherish those relationships but I want to make sure the relationships I have online are clearly separated into work and personal. That’s tough to do. But, I’m working on making that happen now.
To do this, I’ve had to step back and really think about what I’m trying to do by using social media, look at the tools I’m using, and figure out if it’s really worth it to me. Sound familiar (i.e., Mission. Tools. Metrics. Teach)? I primarily use Twitter for both personal and work. But it’s mostly centered around work, or my area of expertise. I don’t really use it for personal all that much. I mean, sure…I love being the Mayor of Burger King, McDonalds, Ledo’s Pizza, and CVS and having people comment on my mayorships. Who wouldn’t be proud of that political career?!
But am I getting anything out of that?
Do I really have to complain about some specific product that I find annoying?
Most importantly, did I even get the friggin’ key to Ledo’s Pizza for being the Mayor?
No. Nope. Fat chance!
But seriously…stepping back and looking at the majority of my interactions and where I want them to be…it’s more about collaborating, networking, and sharing things from a professional standpoint. With my professional relationships, I want to be open. I want to be available. With my personal relationships, I want to be less open with the world and more open with my family and close friends. There’s tools available for me to do both and still keep a clear separation of work and personal.
Do others think the same way as I? Do you get worried sometimes about what you say in your personal social media and how it’ll be perceived..and then related back to your professional life?
Disclaimer: This post is my own personal opinion and is not endorsed by my employer or any U.S. Government Agency.