Ashley E. Kingsley

Private Life and Social Media

In App Technology, Facebook, Fail Whale, Leadership, New Media, Nimble, Social Media, Twitter, Women in Tech on August 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

KeyholeSocial media, (#SM) since I started using it back in 1998 has evolved exponentially.  This is not news.  People have gravitated to multiple  SM vehicles over the years. Sites such as MY SPACE, FACEBOOK, LINKED IN, TWITTER, and DIGG to name a few.  It seems just in the last few years the term SM has exploded and everyone is either a guru or a maven, or wants to be.

Everyone is using it. TWITTER is no longer for the birds. BLOGGING is a mainstream term and everyone has one.  SM as its own department is a growing trend in large and small corporations across the globe.

This is a shift. People finally understand the value of communications, mass listening, monitoring, and connection via SM. It’s powerful. Ahh, how refreshing;  we are getting to the same page.

Now, how do SM and private life intersect.  That is the question. This is my opinion.

Many choose to keep their online lives separate from their professional lives. This is common. After all, do you really want your boss to see your private goings on via your FACEBOOK page?  Most of you will say, “hell no!” I disagree.

I choose not to ‘hide’ my online presence from anyone. I am not afraid to show the dimensions that are ME.  I am human. Many would argue that people will not want to hire me because I have blogs under my name about MISCARRIAGES, health concerns, life in general, and oh, yeah, I use profanity.  I think this is small mindedness.

We are all multi-dimensional creatures with  access to amazing tools and devices that allow us to connect in real time with people all over the world. We all have private lives as well as professional lives; but dividing them would be a shame.  I choose to be ME online and off.  This is who I am and this is who you are going to get.  What a loss for so many if you have to hide half of who you are in the work place?  Sad, really.  I must admit, this has been a struggle for me as I would imagine it would be for many.

WHY I CHOOSE TO BE OPEN WITH PRIVATE LIFE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

What if you could connect via common themes with people that have NOTHING to do with business, or vice versa. Connect with people through business that you wouldn’t have ever met if it were just left to personal fodder? 

SCENARIO

You come across someone on TWITTER or FACEBOOK or what have you. After several TWEETS and POKES you decide to meet for coffee.  Over coffee you realize you could be colleagues, partners, client/service providers or even friends!  How much are we losing out if we keep our private and social lives baracaded? What if we don’t take the risk or being ourselves and putting our best foot forward?

Employers should (SHOULD) recognize that most people have an online presence of some sort and their professional lives are only part of who they are as people.  If you can be who you are all the way through then there are no surprises, right? A wider stream in which to swim and connect with as many fish as possible would behoove us and our relationships; potentially creating life long business partnerships, contacts, customers and need I say it, friends.

Last year I was consulting for a company during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  It was one of the most important weeks of my life.  I attended a panel on Global Poverty during my lunch hour and I TWEETED about it. Within a few hours my boss called me on the phone and asked where I was that afternoon? *He had a SOUR tone in his voice* and I knew where he was going with it. I replied “I was at a panel about Global Poverty during my lunch hour, why?”  He replied “I saw your TWITTER post and just wanted to ask.”   Well good for him for acting like big brother.  And good for me for being exactly who I am, doing my job and taking my lunch hour to learn about something that is important to me.

HOW

Be honest about your work and operate with integrity and there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.  I managed eleven people during a consulting job and every single one of them is my friend on my FACEBOOK. Does this make me a good boss? Well, I will leave that to you. BUT,  I don’t have my head where the sun doesn’t shine… and I am aware, that yes, in fact, people do have lives outside of work!  I would rather connect on the human level rather than expect my employees or my employers to think I am just a robot.

I am proud of my experiences, my ability to chronicle my life through business, private or both.  Of course Private Life and Social Media intersect. If yours don’t- try it.  If you’re scared of opening yourself up then there is always an option to play it safe and create separate profiles; one private and one public.    Just don’t get confused… someone is always watching, or listening!

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  1. Very true. Saying “social” media anymore is like saying “electric light bulb”. It’s redundant as SM is more mainstream than the main stream.

    I’ve gotten into trouble many times because of my ramblings on my blog. But I found that trying to slice away the “bad” stuff only diluted my writing and disappointed readers, including myself. But you have to make a living and right now getting canned because of a late-night drunken post just isn’t worth it. So I have come up with two options: Blog under an assumed name, or focus my career in the direction of my true voice. Right now I do the former, but am working on the latter, which would be the perfect existence–getting paid for being nothing but myself. Oh, and there is a third choice: subtlety.

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