Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A professional presence on the web?

I recently joined the Convergence of social and business networking group on Facebook. As I wrote on my Facebook wall recently: "I have never been very good at drawing lines between work, play and learning, but for the most part, I have kept my social media somewhat separate. I had one blog for work, one for my studies, one for my spiritual journey and one for the family. I use LinkedIn for professional purposes only - which is the point behind it, after all. I use Twitter to engage with professional contacts - although the exchanges can be anything but work-related sometimes, it still fosters the sense of community among us. I had started facebook as a means of keeping in touch with personal friends, but an increasing number of my professional contacts began to send friendship requests, so I have decided to see how it goes to have a place that observes no boundaries at all between the various aspects of my life. As a consequence, my list of friends includes people from all areas."

My fumbling with these boundaries is very evident in this post, and, if anything, it becomes more difficult as time goes by. This is not helped by the fact that several of my projects at work seem to converge on the same theme.

This YouTube video illustrates the potential impact of this, and I wonder what a potential employer would make of a Google search on my name. Yet I consider online subterfuge to be the domain of the charlatan and/or cyberbully and strongly support transparency - hence my use of my own name and a photograph (or occasional caricature) rather than a kooky, anonymous picture. I would consider it contrary to my integrity to pretend to be something I'm not. Brief aside on this point: I have been exasperated by some of my fellow members of the ning community Stop Cyberbullying who purport to be adults when everything about their contributions screams that they are in their teens - even down to the fact they obviously have no insight at all into the job they claim to do. And - sure enough - it has been on this network and at the hands of these people that I had my first personal experience of cyberbulling (admittedly very mild - nothing more than a little name-calling and mild character assassination).

Hey ho - I'll just have to hope that when I apply for my dream job, the recruiter is looking for someone real.

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