managing the personal and professional online

Finding Balance Between the Personal and the Professional

By Communications

I’m not perfect.

Of course, no one is, but in the culture of social media, admitting that — no, owning that, is for the first time, a benefit.

The intersection of the personal and professional in business requires that business show its human side, that the people who represent businesses include a personal element that allows others to know them on a deeper level.

What does that mean?

It’s something people struggle with, or in some cases, the sticking point that keeps some from engaging successfully in social media. They say, “why would anyone care what I’m thinking or doing?” or  “I don’t want to live my life publicly.”

I’m here to tell you that there’s definitely a difference between personal and private — don’t mistake the two. No one, least of all me, is telling you to share your private life online. If it’s private, it doesn’t go on the internet.

You’re not going to get away without being human, however. And the way to be human online is to be a bit personal. Celebrating a personal triumph? Share it! Enjoying what you do? Let us know. Heading to a favorite restaurant? Tell us (maybe we like that restaurant, too). The way people connect to the people who represent businesses is by identifying with them on a personal level. If you don’t give us reasons to do so, that element is missing.

A quick story: people often talk about celebrities as if they know them; morning TV anchors have cornered the market on this relationship development. When Katie Couric’s husband passed away, my mother sent Katie a card. Know what? So did thousands of other people. I’m not suggesting we all pretend we’re celebrities and share all the most intimate details of our lives, but the benefit of connecting with others who understand a (sometimes unique) situation in your life, outweighs the risk you may feel in baring a bit of your person in your professional life.

Need help managing your professional and personal profiles online? Sign up for the next Jaggers Communications workshop, Thursday, March 17 at 9am at OpenSpace.