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.

2 comments

  • Very good points. I have two accounts on twitter, originally dating from when I blogged semi-anon and worked in a sector that Did Not Like Social Media, so had to keep my library stuff separate from my personal but now, I use the split mostly to manage how much information I’m dealing with and how much information I add to other people – I’d reckon that while 90% of my personal feed like/know that I’m a librarian, they don’t really care enough to deal with it daily so if I’m pushing a lot of library information out, it’s noise on their feed and I’d rather it went to people to whom it might be signal.

    Of course, I still talk about some personal stuff on the library account and vice versa, so it’s not entirely clear cut!

  • Emma Cragg

    Thanks for your comment Meg.

    I hadn’t really considered this from the opposite point of view, that of my non-librarian followers. I think that’s largely because there aren’t many of them.

    I’m trying to use lists, although it’s not a perfect system, to manage the noise. I’ve created lists by theme and location and use Seesmic to keep track of everything.

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