Is the Personal Professional?

Today, one of my “read daily” blog writers, Penelope Trunk, wrote about getting on Twitter and used it as a way to talk about doing something that scares you.

For those who don’t know, Twitter is a way to post updates about your daily activities so that your “followers” will know your every move. Some people use it to give details of their day. “Went to the store. No fresh chocolate croissants. Bummer.” You get the idea.

I actually started posting when I update my blog on Twitter. (Feel free to “follow” me. Don’t worry, I won’t let you know what I have for dinner or how many poopy diapers I change in a day!)

For me, Penelope’s post brought to mind an issue that is important for all professionals. Where do we draw the line between the personal and the professional? We already know that recruiters review FaceBook and “Google” potential employees to see if there is any “dirt” that would make them undesirable.

I met a woman this month who told me the story of a son’s friend (new college grad) who showed up for an interview at a big firm only to be shown all of the unflattering materials they had found about him online. They used it as an opportunity to let him know why they wouldn’t be following through with the interview.

Social media is here to stay, though. In fact, it becomes more and more necessary to understand and participate in it. (For example, if you’re not linkedin, you may be missing out on great professional opportunities.)

Where do we draw the line between the personal and the professional?

Keith Ferrazzi says something pertinent in his book, Never Eat Alone

“Power, today comes from sharing information, not withholding it. More than ever, the lines demarcating the personal and the professional have blurred. We’re an open-source society, and that calls for open-source behavior.” (p.146)

It seems that Twitter and other social media encourage this openness and offer vehicles to link personal and professional interests. As “the personal is political,” maybe “the personal is professional.”

Something to think about…

Keppie Careers will help you use social media to your advantage.


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April 2008
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