You Know, Social Media
Now that I’m on the job market, one of the things I’ve been struggling with, as a bloggin’ restaurant wife, and my professional life, is my social media presence and how former/potential employers and employees may perceive me based on my content. What seems problematic is that I can’t really separate my private and professional life: I have these freelancing opportunities* because I have this blog, so I can’t separate my freelance work and the blog. But my work life? A lot of it has to do with social media but my public social media presence is centered around f&f — my slightly snarky, blunt, and sometimes a little swear-y restaurant widow me. These accounts demonstrates Annie the restaurant widow, not Annie the professional. Professional Annie has a LinkedIn, and less than a handful of private social media accounts. But sadly (or not sadly?), when employers google me or find me to see how “social media savvy” I am, they find the sweary widow Annie, because that’s the public one even though it doesn’t accurately reflect who I am although it is one aspect of who I am. Who am I really and who am I online? Am I presenting myself the way I want to [online]?
*Yeah. I’m…a workoholic. Whew. I admitted it.
We can get into a super deep conversation about philosophy of self but I would bore y’all to death. So I’ll try to get to the gist of it.
Some people are very set on keeping professional and personal lives apart, by keeping their private lives under wraps with anonymous blogs and protected profiles. But I disagree and I chose to be pretty visible; it’s on the internet and things that are intended to be private or anonymous aren’t necessarily kept private or anonymous especially when it comes to social media content. You’ve probably heard stories like this, this, or this. [And I’m wondering what will happen to that formally anonymous guy who is causing a stir on the internet these days. Maybe he’ll lose his job?]
Because I’m in a position where I can’t keep one aspect of my personal life and my professional life apart, I’m still trying to figure out for myself if writing on f&f is a bad thing, or a good thing. And if it is a bad thing, should I monitor the things I say a little more? But Sweary Annie gets writing and photo gigs because of this website. And I don’t think Professional Annie benefits from this site that much, but then again maybe I have it all wrong. According to a Harvard Business Review post, I do have it wrong. This is the author’s definition of the new professional in today’s market:
We are living in a time where everyone, whether you’re 90 or 13, is still learning how our social media presence can affect our professional lives, how we should properly “brand” ourselves, and when social media misconduct can be a legal ground for termination (see 1, 2, and 3). We can write gigantic disclaimers on our blog or twitter accounts (“My blog does not reflect the view of my employer”…etc.), but people (and potential employers) will have bias, especially implicit bias, that could crossover to one’s professional lives whether you like it or not. This makes me wonder if my potential employers or clients see me as an asset or a weakness that could affect their clientele because of the content on my site, implicitly or explicitly. Maybe I’ve even lost a few interviews? Or maybe I’m just overly paranoid.
So what now? While I’m trying to figure out/organizing my online identity, I’ve found some helpful tips:
- What not to do on Social Media: Remember that everything on the internet stays foreverz [Z added for emphasis]. If someone sees it, they can easily share it with someone else. Nothing is ever really private.
- How to Make Your Social Media Presence Employee Friendly: “Lastly, don’t be afraid of expressing your personality on social channels––just remember to use common sense. ‘Know that your personality is just as important as your resume, so make sure you let that shine on through…’”
- Keeping Professional & Personal Social Media Accounts Apart: “Avoid attempting to keep your personal life as private and secret as possible: you’ve already compromised this by placing it on the Internet. Instead, try to dissuade prying eyes by keeping your professional presence as open as possible.”
- 5 Tips to Separate Personal and Private Life Online: Although there are some unavoidable crossovers for me — I can not NOT list some of the writing I’ve done (which is often linked to my blog) on LinkedIn. Maybe this article will help someone else.
What’s your take on social media identities? Do you separate your private life and professional life?
Am I completely over-thinking this?
Or maybe I’m just paranoid. Ok, I’m completely paranoid.
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- jacobvanloon said: i try not to be a different person online- no matter what stature, being online is the same thing as being in a room full of strangers. a certain amount of diplomacy is required
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