Friday, August 6, 2010

Is Social Media for Work or Play?

Personal or professional? Personal or professional? This is the question I've been mulling over since deciding to get back into blogging. Especially since I may be entering job market soon, deciding how I want to represent myself online is more important than ever.

I recognize that, in theory, I should be building a personal brand that is marketable. I should be talking about my excellent research abilities, my stellar communication, my positive attitude, my perfect writing, my superior charm and wit, my striking beauty, and...oh wait, maybe I got carried away. But on a more serious note, I do think about how I ought to be selling myself to the world via social media. Shouldn't I be creating an online resume, of sorts, that defines me professionally?

Those of us who like to share opinions, use humor, reveal preferences, carry on conversions in public forums etc. must recognize how it affects our professional image. Not every one appreciates our unique tastes. Not everyone gets our humor. Not everyone agrees with everything we say. Does this mean I shouldn’t post these types of things online? I would say no; because isn't the whole concept of social media sociality? To share with others that which interests us?

But that still doesn't give us much of a guideline for how much of our online activity should be devoted to developing our professional image, because in most cases, our personal and professional interests intersect. There are many career advisors out there who would suggest we should forgo the lure of using social media for our own evil pleasures (like sharing links to funny youtube videos, making fun of cakes gone horribly wrong, and referring friends to the delicious yogurt shops) in favor of only tweetbloglikediggfollowposting material related to our professional development.

But I don't agree; I feel like the lines between our personal and professional lives are very blurry. I'm not even sure if they are separate to be honest, and thus, I think people spend far too much time worrying about keeping personal and professional identities (notice I did not say actual work or play activities) artificially apart. Sure, any time an employer, colleague, or networking contact wants to, they can go online, do a quick search and access tons of "personal" information about you (especially if you utilize social media to its max), but that doesn't mean social media has to be all work and no play. I think the best users seemlessly blend professional and personal content with appropriate doses of descretion of course. What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment