I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the different facets of my “online persona.” It started in mid-December when some of my colleagues and I listened to a webinar on the legal considerations companies face when their employees use social networking tools. The webinar gave basic advice about how companies need to have a policy that governs employee use of social media, sort of a CYA approach so that the company can’t be held liable if an employee says something online that is in some way damaging to the company.
This made me start analyzing my attitude about my various online presences with different websites. Some, such as facebook, are more informal. My chief activity on facebook is checking status messages so I can find out what my friends are up to. It gives me important gossipy information about how my grad school classmates are doing in their new jobs, which college classmates I should be receiving wedding invites from, and makes me feel good about myself because I can see that I haven’t put on as much weight as that mean girl from high school. Others, like LinkedIn, are obviously professional. Twitter, I mostly ignore because I’m honestly just not that invested in participating. Also, you may have noticed that I occasionally post on this blog. I was fairly comfortable using social media.
Then, the other day, I stumbled upon my company’s Social Media Policy. Essentially, it said that I should identify myself using my real name, conduct myself professionally (so don’t say anything I’m going to be ashamed to admit later), and specify that my anything I say here does not necessarily represent the opinions of or constitute advice from my employer (consider this specified). It took me awhile to reconcile how it’s possible to participate in a blog that focuses on the issues faced by a new professional when I’m not going to talk about work (where I encounter professional issues most often). (I suppose this post will be my only exception since it explains something about how I’ll decide on topics in the future.)
Eventually, I decided that it is possible to contribute to this blog without discussing work. There are a lot of issues new professionals face that don’t directly relate to the time they spend in the office, things like professional certification and organizational involvement. Those are the issues that I’ll be talking about.