This morning I happened to catch my fellow Midwesterner Amber Naslund’s post on walking the fine line between the personal and the professional in social media and online in general. I started to comment, then realized my comment was quickly turning into a post that I’ve been meaning to write for this blog anyway, so…here goes.
Social media plays such a fascinating role in our lives. When you immerse yourself in the social media environment, you really do walk a fine line between personal and professional- because for many of us, it’s both. So how…and where…do you draw the line?
Where’s the line?
- And anything that I deem TOO personal, specifically, I’d never write anything about my personal finances or my relationship with any family members or friends other than in the most glowing, positive terms.
Reason #1: Religion and Politics are divisive.
Reason #2: There’s personal…and then there’s personal.
Reason #3: Safety first.
A Good Rule of Thumb
Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if what you’re about to say is something you’d want others to say about you or something you’d want on the news (even if dancing in me kitchen isn’t at all newsworthy, I wouldn’t care if they put it on the evening shows. In fact, it would be pretty awesome if they did). When you have an audience of any size, you’re broadcasting to them. You’re literally standing in front of however many people are following you and telling them all this stuff about yourself. Do you want them to know this?
And more importantly, is whatever you’re sharing consistent with your brand?
The Bottom Line: Authenticity and Subjectivity.
For me, the bottom line is that I strive to be authentic in all things. When people who have only seen me online and in social media meet me in person, I want them to see that I am the same in every medium. Whether I’m on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, standing in front of a room and speaking, or sitting at a table with friends, I’m still me. I want that to come across.
At the end of the day, what you choose to share online is always going to be subjective. Where each of us draws the line is largely dependent on our cultures, our business topic, and our level of comfort in sharing. There’ll always be that one guy who shares a little too much, just as there’s always that guy who stands a little too close to you in conversation. But whether you’re the “close talker” or have tendencies to be too detached, make sure you create some rules and guidelines for your own online participation…otherwise, you may have regrets later.