This article is inspired by an earlier featured article by Rikki Tholstrup – “A Life Apart”, who touched upon the topic of the perfect perception that we are creating for ourselves via social media.
I, like most modern-day people have various social media accounts. I stay active on the majority of them and I have a community around me. I have some professional interests about which I write. I follow like-minded people, read their articles and I look for news specifically oriented towards my interest. So if you follow me, you’ll get a heap of information regarding one or two, maximum three subjects.
Rather one-sided isn’t it?
And, sadly it’s not just me. I have colleagues, who are brilliant designers and developers; they network with people who have similar interests and use social media to connect with other designers and developers, thus creating a little niche for themselves and their community. And if you follow their news feed, you’ll get an avalanche of material in conjunction to their specialty.
Quite limiting, isn’t it?
I highly doubt that there is such a person in existence that has only one or two, maximum tree topics of interest, and that that is the reason for them to post, tweet and share links and articles only on that matter. We all have multiple interests, they might not be related to one and other, but should we take into consideration our followers and network rather than ourselves and split our personality for the sake of having other people interested in us?
There are many articles out there supporting the topic that “you are your brand”, so you must be careful and picky of the things you chose to put out there. I reckon that is true, that is if I perceived myself as a business. And some people do, that’s fine with me, but don’t they come off as some faceless corporation?
My colleagues, who use social media only to expand their professional circle, are an excellent source of information. They use scheduled tweets and posts, publish articles relevant only to their topic of interest and they appear extremely professional. Their followers value that; if they didn’t – they (my colleagues) wouldn’t have millions of loyal fans. They have set up a perfect image of themselves up on the Interwebs as the perfect designer or developer, and from a professional perspective that is worth applause.
I, on the other hand, find it incredibly tiring and chore-like to have to split up my personal opinions and thoughts from my professional ones. Should I have two Twitter accounts, so that I can express my personal views and then a second one in which I can share the useful articles I find? I am almost certain that it’s not just me that feels this way, but if you ask my colleagues they will categorically refuse to leak out personal information and refer to it as: “Noise”. Although I agree with that to a certain extent, but in my opinion that so-called “noise” is the proof that I am following a person and not a bot. When I follow someone for their tips on fixing my car, for example, I will expect to find such information. But when I see them posting pictures of their cat, that validates the fact that they are in fact a real person, with more than one passion.
So what is the solution for this phenomenon? Should we split our personal and professional lives in multiple profiles? Use different social media for either personal or professional use and never both? Should we take into account our followers as priority and put ourselves in the background?
What do you think?