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How Personal is Personal?

4 Jun

One question that constantly needs addressing in the social media world is the question of personal versus professional interaction.

Especially lately with all the uproar over Facebook’s privacy policies, I’ve always been one to blend my personal and professional lives on my social media accounts. Even now with my current position, when commissioners request to friend me on Facebook, usually I tell them that I don’t have anything to hide and I don’t mind accepting their requests. Because in all honesty, I really don’t. I don’t party hard, I don’t engage in embarrassing activities after work hours, and I have found that my friends are all people I really am proud to say I know.

However.

Last Friday, something happened in my life that I could not bring myself to share with everyone. I wanted to tell close friends, but I could not do so without alerting everyone in my social networks. I chose my words carefully, and I posted very little to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. All I wanted to do though, was break down and tell a few close friends and family what was really going on and how much I genuinely needed support.

My 20 year old cousin very unexpectedly passed away and my entire life was put on hold. I don’t exaggerate when I say my family is my rock and when something such as death breaks our strength, my whole world came to a stop even as life went on.

So.

This past weekend has propelled me to question just how ‘personal’ I am on these social networks. Yes, I accept both professional and personal friend requests and yes, I do post content that relates to my job as well as my life as a recent college grad, but really… I’m not sure if I’m genuinely close with 90% these people.

In a time where I needed love and support from just a few select close contacts, I found that my networks were TOO big and TOO impersonal. In other words, while I use social media for personal as well as professional interactions, these networks are not my real personal connection to people.

* Thanks to those who gave their love and support over this past week. I truly appreciate it.

Is the internet becoming Too Much?

30 Dec

My dad is a pretty smart guy. He is a self educated Web site designer, in his SPARE time. He works full time at General Motors as an engineer and he runs his own disc golf Web site for a club he is a representative for, The Motor City Chain Gang.

 

My dad and I often use each other when it comes to computer programs. He helps me with PRSSA because I am the Webmaster and I help him with new CSS things he is not as familiar with for his site. Being the little PR young professional that I am, I mentioned to him that I felt he should join Twitter to help get word out about MCCG. This lead to a discussion about how the internet is just too much.

 

My dad thinks that the world is becoming too wrapped up in visiting Web sites to keep in touch rather than actually maintaining face-to-face time. This coming from a man who never leaves his laptop’s side. He’s on Facebook, he has his own forum on his site, and he is getting his graduates degree online. He is by no means, unfamiliar with the computer or the internet. Then why would he refuse to join into the social network online?

 

Are we becoming too dependent on the internet? Or are we finding that some circles of people are just better suited for the online world?

 

The Motor City Chain Gang is not desperately in need of reaching out to their audience. It’s a very close knit group of people who are dedicated to disc golfing and generally share things via word of mouth. I suppose I am just going to have to conclude that some groups of people, while they could benefit from reaching out through social media, just don’t need to.

 

While social media is becoming almost essential in my field, it’s still up for debate in other areas. I think I’ll keep tweeting and blogging just the same… and of course, bugging my dad to join in.