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Friday, February 8, 2013

Blurring Lines - Personal & Professional Social Media Profiles

Social Media for business and personal use is becoming a hot topic and people's opinions range all over the place. Those who have resisted creating Social Media sites often feel overwhelmed and pressured to take the plunge or miss out on valuable connections. Others are dipping their toes in Social Media without whole heartily diving into all the major sites, wondering how best to represent themselves.

How much personal info should a person divulge on a profile? As Social Media becomes more integrated in business, the lines keep blurring even for savvy Social Media users, especially those who use Social Media in their profession as part of their job. Many employers now search prospective employees' Social Media sites to determine character, connections, and to view online portfolios. If you ever need a job outside of writing novels, every post, photo, and video could be viewed by potential employers at some point in the future.

You will need to decide if you want to keep a personal profile that is separate from your work-related profiles. If so, you will need to maintain both on all the Social Media sites you create, and you will need to stay on top of the ever-changing security and privacy settings. After a while, this can become quite daunting, especially for those who feel like their schedule is already overwhelming.

I prefer to keep my personal profile separate from my work profile since I blog and post for our organization. I do this under our logo instead of a personal photo because I want to build my company's brand, not me. I realize it may seem less personal, but I think it will be better in the long run to allow me to transition out and others to transition in. Also, it avoids potential lawsuits where some brands have been forced to sue for a profile that a former employee built and took with them when they left by blogging and posting status updates under their photo, own name, or a pseudonym.

As an author, I'm finding it more difficult to keep my personal profiles separate from my author profile since I write under my real name. I started out trying to keep these two separate, but I have evolved into doing what seems natural, depending on the culture and setup of each individual Social Media site. For instance, I have a personal profile on Facebook and I "consciously" post status updates to either be "public" or "friends only".

Since LinkedIn operates more like a professional network rather than a Social Media site, I have merged  my  personal profile with my work and my author info through my resume, of course, without my address and phone number. For a long time, I struggled with how much of my personal writing to put on my resume. For over a year, I didn't include the fact that I was a published author.

I was concerned that potential employers would think I couldn't handle focusing on a full-time job and write in my spare time, but I came to realize that it was like saying I couldn't have any other interests or hobbies. Second, I was concerned that some potential employers would fear that I would use their company platform to promote my Christian beliefs. Of course, I would not do this, but I have learned that fear provokes strange, irrational thoughts in people. I prayed about it, consulted my agent, and decided that I would not want to work for someone who could not trust me to be myself as Christian fiction author and at the same time respectful to the company for which I work.

For Pinterest, Twitter and Google+, I merely use my author profile as my personal profile. Most of my posts are author related, about writing, or inspirational. I rarely post personal status updates, but once in a while I do this to give my readers a personal connection. For instance, most know that I have a daughter with Epilepsy and Asperger's Syndrome, so I may post something regarding her progress. I appreciate their prayers so much.

What about you? Have you struggled with where to draw the line from personal to professional on your Social Media sites?

Other Articles
Should You Combine Your Personal and Business Social Media Identities?
Social Networking Strategies for Personal and Professional Use
Drawing the Line Online: Business or Personal Social Media?

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