In a world where so much of our lives is exposed through sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare etc, there is a danger of blurring the lines between our professional and personal careers.
Most of us will inevitably act differently in private compared to with peers. I certainly tried to do that early on, posting my personal activity within the confines of Facebook, whilst my professional ‘persona’ only saw the light of day through LinkedIn.
But then I became more active on Twitter, created my own site, started a blog and set up a Tumblr account. The integration of all these through different applications meant that with an update of Tumblr, I could automatically update both Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time. I could also show my blog entries on my LinkedIn profile and promote it through Twitter.
Not so long ago I would’ve seen this as a problem – wary that my friends would get bored with my work related updates or that my clients would be upset at some of my personal escapades. But now, I think I have gotten to the stage where my friends know that work is an important part of my life and therefore there is nothing wrong being passionate about it (also, I see this as payback to all the Farmvillers who littered my Facebook page with their crops and lost elf discoveries). At the same time, my colleagues and clients know my personality and therefore know that any update that is of a personal nature is just that and does not tamper my ability to do my job or deliver for them.
So, was this driven by a personal change or a technological change. To be honest it is probably a bit of both. I’m more confident about myself and the work I deliver, and the technology has facilitated my updates to the extent that I do not have to update 4 different accounts every time.
I also believe there has been a change in the overall working environment where people are now more accepting that the people they deal with are individuals and not robots whose sole purpose in life is to service their employer/client. The other element is that as much as my clients can see my activity, I can see theirs so it’s reciprocal. We now expect CEOs of companies to be more than business, we expect people to be more open and transparent than they once were.
Have you been forced into having a ‘dual personality’? Or have you recently merged the two? If the latter, how have your peers/friends responded to this change?