Crossing the Lines: Blurring Personal and Professional Lives

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 by Kerry O'Malley

This isn’t technically a post about marketing – but it is about communication, and the way that the Internet is impacting HOW we communicate. If you ever feel conflicted about how much of yourself to “put out there” on the social networking sites, please read on!

Shortly after I opened my Facebook account, I had a business associate send me a “friend request.”  For those of you who are Facebook virgins, this is an invitation to become part of their network and to be able to view their “page” and any information or pictures they post on Facebook.  It also gives them the same permission to see mine.

I thought about this for awhile and decided maybe I didn’t really want my customers (or vendors) knowing how often I decide to leave work early on Friday.  Maybe I don’t really want them seeing pictures of me acting like a fool at social gatherings.  Maybe I want to be able to say exactly what I’m feeling at any given moment, and not have to worry about whether or not it sounds “professional.”

I decided then and there to adopt a rule:  Facebook is strictly for personal relationships and communication.  Only once since then have I broken the rule and sure enough – it came back to bite me in the . . . well, you know.

The next social networking site I joined was LinkedIn, which is really more for developing business contacts and networking, so I adopted the same rule in reverse:  LinkedIn is strictly for business relationships, communication and networking.  But then there’s Twitter . . . Twitter is a different kind of animal.  I decided to open two Twitter accounts: one is for personal acquaintances, one is strictly for business, and my Marketects blog postings feed into it.

The thing is, there are more and more social networking sites popping up all the time. Where will it end?  How complicated will it become, trying to keep my personal and professional lives compartmentalized?  I’m just curious . . . how do YOU feel about crossing the lines between your personal and professional personas, online – or offline, for that matter?

Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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