Friday, June 12, 2009

Personal vs. Professional

I have noticed suddenly that my personal life and my professional life are overlapping more than ever.

I've been using Facebook for about a year personally, and have recently found some professional uses as well. An unconference I helped organize created a Facebook page, my library has a Facebook page, and another committee I'm involved with also has a Facebook page. I don't post anything on my personal Facebook page that I wouldn't share with my colleagues, but it seems like I'm inviting this personal/professional overlap by using Facebook both ways.

I've also been using Twitter for about a year. My personal account ( is exactly that: my personal account. I post about brewing beer at home with my husband, going to Cedar Point to ride roller coasters, barbequeing in my back yard, and visiting my family up north. A couple of times I have used my personal Twitter account to tweet at conferences. After meeting people at these conferences and having them see my tweets there, they often start following me. If they are expecting bits of professional wisdom, I'm sure they are disappointed.

In my online profiles at places like Facebook, I do not divulge my religious or political preferences. I have no problem divulging that information on a personal level to my friends or family, but I do try to keep that kind of information out of the workplace. I'm not so concerned about what my co-workers think, but I definitely want the public to find me approachable at the reference desk and in the computer classes I teach. I want them to know they can ask me for any information and that I will never have a personal bias or judge them for asking. So, in this regard, the choices I make on a personal level (such as on my personal Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter pages) are definitely affected by my professional choices.

How much overlap is appropriate between personal and professional where Web 2.0 is concerned? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Mine is all smudged in together. What was once a personal hobby (being online, blogging) has turned into my work (consulting). I was trying to keep Facebook as a space for personal friends, but then my Twitter friends wanted to access me there and...the lines have all become blurred. Essentially I try to be myself everywhere, but just take a little care as to whatever I say online. I also created a business Twitter account for those who really don't want to follow my day to day goings on but still want to know what I am doing professionally.