Thursday, May 22, 2008

Disappearing Compartments

So it's social media week at my job. I have been instructed to shut down my email and engage in "social media" from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. CST. LMAO! I HAVE to do what the rules say, right? So I decided to take this time to blog.

(Don't you love my job!?!)

Anyway, at the beginning of the week everyone was instructed to create a myspace or facebook profile. I was out of town [working] when this instruction came forth, so I was a bit confused when I got a bunch of facebook friend requests from co-workers. The most alarming was a friend request from the second in command at my company. She's awesome, she sits three doors down from me, she's active in professional organizations, which is how I met her AND she referred me for the position. Besides having an excellent eye for talent she runs the hell out of this business and is genuinely a nice person. I mean, I love everything about this woman.

BUT does she meet the qualifications to be my facebook friend? NOT ATALL! However, I'm not silly. I know I HAVE to add her as a friend. When the request came through, I was immediately panicked. I was thinking what does my facebook status say today? What did my friends or my little carefree college-aged brothers write on my wall today? Which pictures did I put in my album? Oh LAWD... what am I going to do? So you know I put her on limited profile right?

This brings me to the topic at hand. When one facet of your life spills into the other. I am awesome at compartmentalizing my life. I have 5 email addresses, all of which handle different parts of my life. I live on the north side, go to church on the south side, hang out with the fam in the 'burbs, socialize downtown and PARTY OUT OF TOWN. I have true friends, work friends, high school friends, college friends, church friends and party friends (to name a few sets of friends).

I have high school friends who have become family, work friends who have become true friends and true friends who have become employees at my workplace. My church friends became college friends and now are vacation friends, and let's be honest, ALL of MY friends are party friends.

Side note: for some reason everyone's "just party" friends get it twisted thinking that they are vacation friends. I'm not going out of town with YOU, dude!

I digress. The point is no longer do we live in an age where we can show some of ourselves to some of the people we want to see it. I can't do my job and go home. I'm an advocate of the programs I work for in online social media and face-to-face networks. [Anyone who knows me also knows I'm a big advocate of my company].

In this new social networking era though, we've become a part of the "look at me" generation. Look what I'm doing, look what I've done, encourage me to do better (people really need to get therapists and stop using facebook to counsel their problems via the status updates, though).

I'm digressing again. This idea of working 8,10, even 12 hours and going home is dead in 2008. You are always who you are, an employee of your job, a member of your church, an alumni of your school. You are always on now. Anything you say or do on or off of company premises can get you fired and/or promoted. Networking, i.e. promoting yourself and/or your company or your affiliations outside of your their normal spaces is an absolute must and it's no longer only taking place in traditional settings.

This openness that the internet has afforded us is, to say the least, scary. The point is, just because I work with you or know you or went to high school with you or go to church with you, doesn't mean I necessarily want you knowing what I did on vacation or that I even went on a vacation (or what I looked like in high school... ick!)

What's really tripped out is that I OPT IN to these social networks for personal use, but now they are becoming a part of my job responsibility. Soon, I'll HAVE to create alternate profiles, my work profiles and my personal profiles, to get the tasks of my job done. (i.e. if my client has something to promote on facebook, I'm not going to use my personal account complete with my sarcastic remarks, ignorant friends' wall commments and Operation Desert Storm photos to disseminate client info.)


Reese Johnson said...

"(i.e. if my client has something to promote on facebook, I'm not going to use my personal account complete with my sarcastic remarks, ignorant friends' wall commments and Operation Desert Storm photos to disseminate client info.)"

there is now soy sauce on my damn tie. LOL

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

Great post as usual!!!

I totally agree with separating your life into compartments. I have about 7 email addresses for different purposes. Just like I have friends who bring a little something different to various aspects of my life.

LOL @ "party friends" who think they are also vacationing friends!!!!

Kismet said...

I'm late but this post is excellent. I'm with you--compartments were definitely what's up once upon a time and they ARE disappearing.

It did make me rethink what the purpose of my compartments were anyway. Was I using them in a healthy way? Was it strictly professional or did I use it to keep people at a distance? I've gotten more comfortable merging things now and trying to use these disappearing compartments as an excuse to be a better, whole person and find better balance for myself.

Definitely freaks me out when my students request me on facebook though. I'm like...uh No. Set up a special profile for them. Sorry kids.

And dude!--some party friends def. belong in the party category. Because not everyone can handle it when I do what I do!