A tweet by Evan Smith prompted me to ask the…
Have you seen this men? (Or would you work with them?)
We are defined by those around us.
Over the past three months I have been asked to offer advice on this matter, and more recently I’ve come to see it played out with all sorts of conclusions, consequences and successes. Let’s look at the question and try and break it down:
- Do you censor yourself online?
- Do you have two Facebook accounts — one for work, and one for ‘personal’?
- Do you protect (block) your updates on Twitter from the public?
- Do you put your real name and work information on your blog?
A note on anonymity: If you’re going to say something about someone, put your name to it. See that’s not hard is it? At the time of writing this mUmbrella (Tim Burrowes) echoed my thoughts simultaneously on the matter.
Basically what are we really asking?
Do you censor yourself online?
- Do you say FUCK on your blog/twitter/facebook?
- Do you bash clients/partners/company on your blog?
- Do you reveal company activities that might reflect poorly on the company?
I believe the first example is more about image and perception. The second is about being two faced and unhappy with your current situation. If you swear in real life, there’s probably just as much chance of someone from work over hearing you in the local after work. If you’re slamming clients and work you probably need to look at the problem and address it. The third is something obviously the company should address. Always remember to clean up your MySpace ;)
Three common reasons for two Facebook accounts:
- I don’t want industry people perving on my latest pool party pictures
- I don’t want my work mates to know that I get munted every weekend
- I keep work at work, and life on the weekends. No need for the two to cross.
Do you protect your Twitter updates? (i.e. Make them private)
- Yes, don’t want my work/clients/friends/ex-bf knowing I’m bitching about them.
- It’s my secret diary of thoughts
Do you put your real name and work information on your blog?
- No, my views are different than those of my company
- No, it’s a personal journal of thoughts and wonderings
- I like stuffed toys, I don’t want anyone from work to know
When it comes to ‘representing the company’ or maintaining a self image — learn from those who are failing in Australia. The NRL stars who are constantly going and getting wasted, dropping pills and playing chasey with the girls. Isn’t this just like their Facebook? Their Twitter stream? It’s public, and they’re doing and saying shit they probably shouldn’t.
But, regardless of whether they like it or not, they represent so much more than just themselves. It’s about their team (company), associations, stakeholders and audience. And now as our stakeholders move into more spaces, we need to take more responsibility.
What do you think? Are we all becoming public figures in the eye of our stakeholders?
My opinion: if you can create a pseudonym beyond a name, craft an image, and create a persona, you might just be able to seperate your life and work online as the lines blur. But perhaps it’s that personal approach blurring with work that will be the kicker for your next communication.