How does social media blur lines between personal and professional or organizational? Beth Kanter asked that question over at twitter.
I manage two brands in the social media space:
- Organizational: World Resources Institute (WRI). You don't need to be a corporation to have a brand online. A brand reflects the people, issues and personality of your organization offline.
- Personal/Professional: Laura Lee Dooley. Yes, people can be (and are) brands. My online brand reflects who I am offline and there are no other brands like me. I am unique.
Each of these brands has presence in major social media spaces: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare, YouTube, etc.
One of the challenges of managing two brands simultaneously is the same as managing your work vs. your personal life:
- No matter what brand I'm representing, I work to present the brand in a professional manner - you never know who is (or will be) evaluating you by what you post. This is particularly important when you consider that in many social media tools an organizational presence requires a personal administrator. What I do and say in my personal profile reflects on any organization I represent.
- Like many people, I maintain two email accounts (actually, I have more than that, but I primarily use two for my social media work). I use the email given me by WRI for WRI-centric social media accounts. My personal profiles link to my personal email. Should I move to another organization, there will be continuity of service in my personal social media accounts.
- I maintain this personal blog as well as contribute to WRI's organizational blog (www.wri.org). In this blog I focus on social media, online marketing, web analytics and other areas of interest which are a supporting, rather than primary, area of interest and research to WRI. On WRI's website, I blog about issues of direct relevance to WRI's research areas.
Having worked this way for some time there are several issues I think will be relevant in the future:
- As part of the hiring process, personal profiles in social media will continue to grow in value and importance.
- Organizational and personal brands will contribute to and build off each other. The organization may serve as the hub with the personal brands acting as spokes.
- Individuals and organizations significantly increase their use of social media to establish virtual organizations/alliances to accomplish specific goals.
- At some point, organizations will expect (and accept) that individuals maintain personal profiles in specific social media in order to communicate with other staff, partners and constituents.
- Those using social media online will become more comfortable with having their personal lifestream viewed by those they work, live, and play with because it will be an integral and accessible extension of these relationships. And what's more, it will make those relationships more authentic and stronger.