When worlds collide, or are reassembled

 Since I really started building my “online presence” in 2004, I’ve been careful to build my identity quite separate from what I do as a career. Part of this probably comes from the fact that early on, I didn’t want the “day job” world to know about my online activities, and honestly, to a certain extent, I wanted to build recognition that was quite separate from what I’m known for in my career.

I think everyone does this segregation of lives to a certain extent. My first recollections of it were when I was playing in bars in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I made a point of NOT telling the people I worked with what I did on weekends. Again, part of it was because I didn’t want to have work (or work people) in that side of my life, which allowed me to leave work on friday afternoon in a suit, and by evening strapping on a guitar cranking it up. The corporate guy turns into a rebel thing I guess, living the “rock and roll dream”, if only to a half-filled bar.

When I look back at this latest separation of work and play, play being this online presence thing with the podcasting and blogging and whatever, I do find it strange that somehow my online friends know a lot about my life, family, even the crappy white van I used to have, while they know nothing about what I do for 50+ hours on most weeks.

What I’ve realized is that the separation hurts no one but me. How? Well, I’ve 20+ years experience in my day job, and even if I say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. Yet someone coming to me for that knowledge and experience would find none of it here – you could say that’s a missed branding/marketing/networking opportunity… (well, at least you could if you were Mitch Joel 🙂 )

It’s also an effort to keep the existences separate, and when it really comes down to it, it doesn’t work. This was brought home to me by an email I got at work from a client in another city, whom I’ve never seen in person. Turns out he found my site, noticed that I have a thing for old radios, and thought of me when he had some old gear that was looking for a new home. While I was thrilled to get the chance at the gear,  it showed me quite clearly that I’m wasting my time trying to keep the worlds separate. Social networking tools like facebook have blurred the lines even more.

All this to say that I think I’m done trying to keep my worlds from colliding, its too much work, it’s sure to fail, and in the end it’s already happening.. So I think I’ll start incorporating some changes here, which means you’ll start seeing a bit more of me around, but be assured it’s all me..

What about you, have your worlds collided yet?

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6 Comments

  1. suzanne says:

    This is a good post. You have put into words what I struggle with too. AUTHENTICITY is what the new democratic order is and this is what should underline our online communications, but I feel awkward about speaking to/for/about one aspect of my character, when there are many aspects. I am wondering if my musician background is detrimental to business profile, and if my motherhood which I am passionately involved in would also be considered a detriment to my business associates. So this makes me think about my Facebook profile – is sharing kid photos for my family and friends putting off potential business associates? Is my music career scrapbook looked upon as frivolous? But I am the sum of my parts and I personally like associating with business partners who have full lives with many aspects. So I divulge.

  2. Todd Tyrtle says:

    Like you, I have my separate work/online identities and use a different last name for my non-work persona. Mostly the two worlds do not collide though in a recent Critical Mass ride I went on with a coworker, one of the other cycling bloggers I know rolled up next to me and addressed me as Mr. Tyrtle. It was odd to be literally between two worlds.

    In most cases, though, it is in my best interests to keep the two at least nominally separate. There are things I have been known to rant about that might not be considered appropriate for work or that clients might disagree with.

  3. Bill Deys says:

    It’s kinda tough to keep my worlds apart. I’ve done it pretty well, I think mostly because people in my industry aren’t know for web savvy.

    I did have one supplier say that he happened across my videos, I saw a little stunned at first but for the most part I represent myself in the same way on video. I can’t think of much I say there that I wouldn’t say to most people’s face.

    I think growingly what used to be home time is being used for work time and the opposite is also true. With that I don’t think you can stop the meshing of things.

    I don’t see this as a bad thing, now when business associates talk to you they are talking to someone who seams more of a person.

  4. Keeping the two separated is hard to achieve and it will inevitably overlap… or at least, some co-workers/boss will find out about what you do.

    I’ve always controlled a bit what I say on Twitter because it updates my FaceBook profile, which is public. I made a test and some people in the organization is watching what you say/post on FaceBook. They think I don’t know that they know so it can be used as a way to influence those people. I made another test and it worked ;0)

  5. I’ve found it very liberating & exciting to be able to express myself thru my Scarborough Dude persona – and not have to worry about too much about clients & others hearing what I wanted to say. Surprisingly, I now think of the SD as being much closer to my ‘real’ self, and Ken as more of a facade from the past, which is why you can find Ken on Facebook but not ‘me.’ I’m comfortable with the people I know thru podcasting knowing both, but prefer those I only know thru work or the superficial world only meet Ken, unless I let them in. So yes, there is a real dichotomy for some of us. And I can hardly wait to get rid of Ken!

  6. LuluMom says:

    I too will have to “come out” soon from my online hiding place, despite the liberating feeling of writing anonymously (on the Internet, no one knows you are a dog) I am now thinking that my actual creds are an asset worth trotting out.

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