In a recent article in Pyschology Today, Dr. Nancy Rothbard discusses the dilemma that all working professionals face today. How much should we share on social media or, rather, how closely aligned should we have our personal and professional social media “personas”?
Dr. Rothbard points to four archetypical social media strategies most people tend to use. Open, Audience, Content and Custom (see attached for descriptions). As if we don’t have enough to think about in our personal and our professional lives individually, we must also think about how it is perceived online and now, together! A key note that Dr. Rothbard makes is that since social media is so far-reaching and ‘invisible’, we tend to forget about this audience. As she points out, “traditional ways of managing our psychological boundaries and our identities just don’t translate very to cyberspace.”
It’s not an issue when I post on Facebook to my family and friends that my daughter just got the lead in school musical and I walk into work the next day and random colleagues (whom I forgot I am Facebook friends with) say “congratulations on your daughter!” It IS an issue however when I post something about either staying out to late on a weekend or my thoughts on my favorite TV show or dare I, the latest political debate. This is where the line between my two personas get tricky. Everyone knows you should not discuss politics at work but what happens when someone inadvertently makes a comment about politics in their personal personas and then they called out at work! Can you say…..AWKWARD?