Now that I am back to having a full time job and making the transition to PR from interactive marketing, I’m faced with the imminent reality that my professional and personal life (at least the digital one) have blended. I am wondering how to best way to navigate this delicate balance. It used to be pretty easy to keep your life separate from work, but as our daily life becomes more visible there are instances where it’s natural to pause and think, “is this TMI?” I’ve certainly taken some risks in making a video for school about a miscarriage I had, but that was while I was in school. Yet that video was the one that taught me the most (technical- and content-wise), and thanks to that experience I changed my ‘professional’ perspective.
Jeremiah Owyang blogged about how some companies react badly to their employees developing their personal brands. Fortunately, Weber Shandwick has no problem with people having their own blogs, , etc.; this was reinforced by a pretty clear and simple blogging policy. Still, I was curious to see how people handle their personal and work digital activity, after all, a PR firm represents clients, not just ourselves. So here are my first impressions:
My initial take was that most people maintain blogs about their personal life, but I found out they mix in some business too. There’s Paolo, Jessica and Margot, who keep their blogs primarily about their life or passions outside of work. Blogging about non-work related stuff I think it is pretty easy to maintain a separation, but blogging about work things can get a bit fussy. Wade, as the social media expert in the office, certainly has a blend of personal hobbies, interests and work-related posts. I also connected with Simon from the UK office who blogs about PR and social media and just announced the birth of his baby Harry.
I’ve been encouraged to continue with my blog and will be working on some social media projects for clients. My biggest principle is to maintain a personal voice and keep full disclosure at all times.
There are many cases where Twitter is used as a faceless corporation, but that often doesn’t work. In fact, most of the top 100 Tweeters are people (or at least people who represent people). But what seems to work is a combination of personal narrative, sharing resources and some shameless self promotion–that is what the top Tweeters do. This particular tool seems to lend itself for such a blend if you have your name associated with it. For disclosure’s sake, I changed my bio to include my position and company; some people choose to do that, some do not.
Seems like this is the most popular application among Weber-ites, but I’m not too sure they use it for business. I’m yet to ‘friend’ some co-workers, but I am curious to get to know these people I’m spending most of my day with and FB is kind of a new way to make this happen. In school I’ve been using FB to share some links and resources. My connections are already a blend of professional and personal contacts, and about half of my friends have no idea what I’m saying, since they only speak Spanish.
This old tool is quite popular in business. At American Express it wasn’t allowed, so I haven’t really used for business in quite a long time. Recently I contemplated creating a new account since my old Hotmail is not under the most professional name, and I have a ton of people on it that are not related to work. In the end I decided to keep my quirky Hotmail account with a Spanish literary reference, because that is just part of who I am.
Conclusion: Companies are just people and perhaps this digital age is, ironically, making it more clear than ever. It’s liberating to be yourself 24/7.
I originally posted on http://digitalecologist.com (imaged re-mix* by me too)
* Re: “remix” term see Lawrence Lessig new book Remix.