I was reflecting today on how the line between social media and Real Life has become increasingly blurred over the last few years.
When I first started blogging, back in 2004, I was intent on keeping my blog separate from my life. I made sure I didn’t use my full name – just my first name, or sometimes Alda Kalda. (That was my own little private joke, and I remember having a GAH! moment when someone actually referred to me by that name, thinking it was real.) Neither did I show my face on the profile photo – only the back of my head. Only my closest relatives and friends knew about my blog, and the prospect of someone I worked for finding out about it was not very appealing – not that I had anything to hide, exactly … it’s just that I wanted to keep my blog and professional personas separate. In fact, I had my professional website, hosted on the very URL on which you are reading this, and then I had my blog – and my resolve was that ne’er the twain should meet.
I don’t know how things changed, exactly. It probably happened as the blog began to take up an increasing amount of space in my life, particularly after I started documenting the economic meltdown and became a sort of unofficial spokesperson for Iceland. It was a little hard to stay anonymous under those kinds of conditions.
Still, relinquishing anonymity came in increments – at some point I put my full name in the footer of my blog as a copyright thing, then I put my face on the profile photo, after a while it seemed silly not to have the URL in my email signature, and finally I was actually linking to it from my professional website.
Today, blogs have largely been replaced by social media, as everyone knows. Not that they are completely outdated – it’s just that their role as a social tool has changed. Whereas in the past they were mostly personal, today they have become primarily professional – whether as a vehicle for making money, or for highlighting your knowledge and/or abilities in your chosen field. In fact, they can often be more important than a resume when it comes to attracting potential clients or employers.
Personally I am no longer shy about blogging on my professional website, or of having my professional and blog personas blend into each other. However, I still have reservations about who I friend on Facebook … so perhaps not that much has really changed.
What about you? Do you care about keeping your personal and professional personas separate? Would you friend your boss on Facebook?