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How to Manage Personal and Professional Personas While Online

Maintaining both a personal and professional presence online requires both a delicate touch and an understanding that lines are inevitably going to become blurred.

The growing interconnectivity of the internet only means that living separate lives online is going to get harder and harder in the future. We can already see the roots of this movement in place with things like Facebook-driven comment systems on sites like ESPN. Naturally, folks are much less likely to post awful things on the web when their name is attached to it. I say “less likely” because not everyone has common sense online. 

Another example of this is how social media has quickly married the personal self with the professional self. As Scott Langdon at Entrepreneur writes, keeping those parts of your online personal separate is getting much more difficult. Most people on Twitter are just as likely to be followed by friends as professional contacts. More and more people friend their boss on Facebook. Heck, a LinkedIn profile comes with a built-in identity crisis. All this mish-mashing of various identities and online priorities can be utterly confusing. It all comes down to that ugliest of B-words: Brand. 

While Langdon notes that there’s always going to be a blurred line between your personal and professional online brands, he supplies several potential tactics for distinguishing between the two. The first step is to know thyself and know thy priorities. Do you want to set up a cement wall between the personal and professional (i.e. Facebook for friends, Twitter for business)? Or can a healthy blend of the two actually reap benefits?

“It’s worth keeping in mind that your personal life can sometimes benefit your professional life. People are going to want to see that you’re a real human and not just words on a computer screen. Part of helping your articles pop or your social accounts thrive professionally is actually bringing in a little bit of your personality and personal life.”

After that, Langdon’s advice is fairly common knowledge. Know your audience on social media. Determine the delineation point between which accounts are personal and which will be professional. Keep an eye on all applicable privacy settings and Google yourself every once in a while just to make sure that photo of you at Margaritaville isn’t popping up where it shouldn’t. 

Take a look at Langdon’s article (linked again below) and let us know what you think.

Read more at Entrepreneur

Photo credit: Ellagrin / Shutterstock


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