I remember 20 years ago in the days of what I call the “Young WEB”. Before Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace… back then we had to make more of an effort to stay connected. Do any of you remember having a favorite RSS reader app that you would plug in the feeds of all the websites of friends or companies you wanted to keep tabs on? Mine was Google Reader.
I have always had some version of a personal website. The domain names and purposes have changed over the years. When social networks hit, most of us flocked to them. [Insert Social Network here] became the new RSS reader and the new personal website for many. I too stopped my personal website blogging and posted on the networks instead. If I could go back and read my old blogs today I would probably be embarrassed by much of the silliness and ranting that went on.
For a long time I struggled with my stance on public vs private, business vs personal. Should I have a personal profile and a separate business profile? What kinds of posts are appropriate for each? How should I decide who gets to see which profile? It was very stressful and easy to make mistakes. Today though, I have a new stance: pick one network to keep private personal – shared only with friends and family, and treat all other networks as your public personal brand. Your public personal brand is anything that you wouldn’t mind a potential employer to see about yourself.
For me, Facebook is my private personal sharing space with my friends and family. Everywhere else is a reflection of my contribution to the world. Does that mean I am honest on Facebook and fake everywhere else? No. I am the real me everywhere I post. It just means I am in control (or at least I like to believe I am) of what I choose to share and how I choose to share it.