The Division.

17Nov08

Awhile back I received the following question and finally have had time to finish my thoughts on it. (my paraphrasing and ended up not being the person’s actual question, but worth talking about)

How do people participate in Social Media and still maintain that division between your professional life and your personal life?

Wow. Great question. Seriously. I don’t know where to start to answer it.

Let’s take a look at my own life…

I’m very active in Social Media, though I work at a place where I differ from the rest of the mentality about Social Media. Some of my younger co-workers have Facebook accounts and participate in Social Media on a social level only.

Some of the associations I work with have tried to implement social media endeavors (without my involvement on the projects) and have failed miserably. Mainly it has been on Facebook. I (in general) think Facebook is horrible for engagement, but more on that in a different post. Also one association is running a blog that they aren’t tracking, so they have no idea what their engagement is. Like I said, I wasn’t involved and since most of the office is anti-social media the advice I try to offer falls on deaf ears. More about trying to convince your boss.

I think for me being the age that I am, I grew up on the internet. I’ve had an online life almost as long as I’ve had a real life. I’m definitely past the “having an online life for 50% of my actual life” point. That’s a little scary to say and I’m sure scary for others to read. For me my online life had always been personal, it wasn’t a realm where I brought my professional work into it. Recently I accepted a position where I will be able to meld my online life and professional life into one (and get paid for it!). The trick will be separating what is already established online & is personal with my professional life/online persona. My current Myspace account is definitely personal, even though I don’t use it that much. I think the first step that I’m going to take is to set-up a Facebook account for work only. I’ve heard of other people doing it and I think in this instance it might be beneficial, especially since AAPA has a high amount of engagement on Facebook. One account will be more personal and the one I use for all my theatre stuff, the other will be for work that I will be doing with AAPA. I’ve thought about setting up a separate LinkedIn account just for my non-theatre work, but when I did that, I realized I will have to transfer all my connections and I’m not really too keen on that idea.

I think the key is, if you are going to seperate then you need to establish the division early on. With my LinkedIn account I’m leaving it as a general work resume with both my theatre and non-profit work on there, but with Facebook, I originally started to using that to engage more into the local theatre scene (and for my own expirmentation purposes).

I think this is going to be a test for me. What is personal and what is professional. Is there a middle ground?

~Lynn

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