I am not difficult to find on social media. If you know my name, you can find me on LinkedIn. If you are my Facebook friend, you know how to find my blog. If you find my blog, you can find my Pinterest and Twitter accounts. If you find my Twitter account, it links to my Tumblr account. If you find my Tumblr account… well, can you all just agree NOT to go exploring my Tumblr account?
When it comes to internet presence, mine is wide. And consistent. And not well hidden or secured. Several things have happened recently that have made me consider whether my social media presence is appropriate and productive. Some of the questions that I’ve been struggling with are…
- Should I create more of a wall between real life and online life?
- Should I separate my professional life from my personal life?
- Is social activism vía social media just a waste of my time?
- Would I be happier if I just walked away from social media and avoided the hate?
- Is there is a right way to exist online in this day and age?
Those are a lot of big questions, and they spun off into a lot of smaller ones. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I’ve utilized a number of processing cycles in my brain on these questions. And I’ve come to the following conclusion: I am who I am wherever I am and in whatever medium I am. And I have no interest in being anyone else.
Maybe that seems pretentious. Maybe it’s arrogant. Maybe it’s stupid. It’s probably a little of all of those things, but it’s right for me. My online personality is no different than my real life personality, which means sometimes I say dumb things. I over-share. I use humor inappropriately. I am opinionated, have no patience for hate, and I love exploring perspectives that are different than my own.
If you know me or if you choose to reach out and connect with me via social media, you are going to get *Me*. There isn’t an online version of Me. There isn’t a business version of Me. There isn’t a family friendly version of Me. There isn’t a Me that I am with friends that is different than the Me that I am with colleagues. There’s just me.
That’s not to say that I don’t apply certain filters based on the circumstances. I do it in real life and online. I don’t curse in meetings with clients. I don’t use LinkedIn to post photos of my cats or to live blog the State of the Union. I do use LinkedIn to post links to articles about being a force of positive change and actively acknowledge social issues that matter to me. I don’t use Facebook to squee over Dylan O’Brien’s ridiculously beautiful
face performance in last night’s episode of Teen Wolf. That’s what Tumblr (aka Fangirl Paradise) is for. (Don’t even pretend that you didn’t already go look up my Tumblr account after I explicitly told you not to.) But while I choose the time and the place to share certain things, I’m not embarrassed by or ashamed of anything that I share in any of those places.
There is no right way to use social media. Some people aren’t comfortable putting their lives out there on the internet for all to see. A lot of people put up walls in their lives to separate different aspects of themselves, and they share only within the confines of those various rooms. I guess I’m a little more “open floor plan” and all my rooms kind of blend into each other.