I was having a quick chat yesterday – marvelling over the new website http://www.bundle.com/ – with my friend John Mallen. John was at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, and tweeted a couple of times about a float, but then stopped. When I asked him why, he said that the people that follow him are mostly PR experts outside of this region uninterested in all things Kingston, NY, – And gee, how do I resolve that – that is, being local, AND in a professional arena outside of the area.
This is not a new discussion to me. Our head of Social Media here at DragonSearch calls herself a professional Sybil (after the movie of that name about a woman with multiple personality disorder). Even without the fact that in her daily job she has to assume different personas, she too has a life with many sides. In fact, I think most of us do!
Me, I’m an artist/painter, work here at DragonSearch, until recently ran a web development company, am a “local yokel”, a jazz drummer, a father, a husband, a son (Mom, are you reading this? I’m not goofing off, Mom, this is part of my job!) and a lot more. My great role model in all of this is the Baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens. When he wasn’t creating some of the most sumptious paintings in western history, he was operating a workshop, and running back and forth as a diplomat between the Spanish and English courts.
In the early days of social media, I, like many others, tried to split these different parts of me off. I had a few Twitter accounts, and like others, thought that perhaps Facebook was for personal, and Linked-In was for professional. At the end of the day, it just didn’t work. I may be a bit of a polymath, but its all me. And it was just too much effort to communicate through the different personas.
A few people might “unfollow” me because of the local issues I mention, or because if I’m an artist, I must be dangerous. I can take that risk. The people who do communicate with me through social media will read what is relevant to them, and ignore the rest. I know I do that with, say, Christopher Penn. Every so often, he writes about World of Warcraft, or cooking… it is easy enough to click “next”. I enjoy the fact that there is more to this guy than his marketing talk.
At the end of the day, it is actually satisfying, finding a place where I can become integrated. For too many years, I kept the professional and the artist separate. Perhaps, in the new Social Panopticon, there will be easy filtering tools, and how we participate in social media can be controlled. Until then, we can all just jump in and make a nice big pot of social nail soup.