So, when a nice lawyer-type person in a major corporation for which you work makes recommendations about how you will name your social media accounts what do you do? Do you yell and through things? Do you take the supply cabinet hostage? Do you go and post about how you're going to fight the man? Some might. This guy (call me coward if you must) says "Thank you." and begins to craft a new identity.
What about my free speech, man?
I won't get into specifics about my own situation, but in general when dealing with your social identity in conjunction with your work identity there can be some weird clashes. You may be dealing with trademarks and other things that are much, much bigger than you. Social media is freaking a lot of people out and it's just not worth a big fight about it... at least not to me.
To me it's the same as the lines one draws between personal space/life/rights and the requirements of working with a company. There are things I like to wear that I do not wear to the office. (Though I did wear the kilt that one time. Hey! It was St. Patrick's Day!) There is music that I like that I don't listen to out loud (though sometimes in the headphones). There are references to horror, fantasy, and sci-fi that I don't use openly because people just don't get it. (Gasp! I must be some kind of geek!) I try not to cross those lines (wire?) and it makes things easier for me. I think these boundaries are helpful and respectful.
Was it a pain to have to change my accounts and everything? You bet it was. Some of my things had been in place since before some of the corporate guidelines were clearly defined. In some cases I was not completely aware of the policies. It try to do it all right, but sometimes it's just hard. The upshot is that the person who brought it to my attention was trying to help and there were answers to the problems. Don't shoot the messenger.
So, who am I, now?
Here's a memorable exchange from the film "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers":
Peter Sellers: You're stretching me too thin, Stanley. Who do you think I am?
Stanley Kubrick: I think you're whoever I want you to be.
Peter Sellers: Then who am I now?
- Twitter: @cmw_osdude
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cmw.osdude
- Google+: firstname.lastname@example.org
- UStream: Chris Walden: Open Source Dude
This is just part of the new social media world. It's a whole new opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes. If you are getting into social medial, try to be gentle with people who are concerned about how you might affect the company. Consider drawing clear lines between your personal life and your business life, even if that means having more than one social face (something that social media providers need to respect). If you are dealing with someone who needs to make changes to their social media because they are confusing your customers or management, be gentle too. They may need some help drawing those boundaries. You can always choose to do your business media through IBM's Community as a Service. If you want to learn more, start here.