Blurring the boundaries
Recently I read a blog post by Brian Herzog, the Swiss Army Librarian, about Being personal and professional on Twitter. It got me thinking about how I often blur the lines on Twitter and whether I should try to keep it more professional.
I think Brian is right, it’s easy to remain professional on the library accounts. Whether you’re tweeting under the library’s name, replying to a comment on the library Facebook page or posting on a library blog, it’s business. I really liked how he defined his aim when updating library social media accounts:
My goal is to be personable, not personal.
I would say my goal with these accounts is the same. To convey information from the library to our users whilst applying a human touch.
For my personal Twitter account however I apply different rules. Although it is essentially a professional account, created to allow me to engage with my peers in the information profession, it is also a personal account. It is mine, it bears my name and has no connection to my job, or my library. I therefore also express my personality and my personal interests through it.
Unlike Brian, I don’t think I need separate Twitter accounts, one for professional stuff and one for personal stuff. The main reason for this is because I feel that being a librarian and having in an interest in information and education is too large a part of me. Having two Twitter accounts would be like splitting my personality.
Today I read an article by Martin Weller and George Siemens, Higher Education and the Promises and Perils of Social Networks, which confirmed my thinking about the blurring of boundaries on Twitter:
Some users of Twitter try to have multiple accounts for instance, to differentiate personal and professional comments, but it is precisely the personal element in SNSs that gives them value and interest.
And so I shall continue to intersperse my professional networking on Twitter with stuff about quiffs, cats, sport and LGBT issues.