I’ve never had a clear line between my personal and professional lives. It’s not possible to be a workaholic and stop the professional from bleeding across into the personal, at least in terms of time and space – I work outside of work hours, and I work in non-work environments (I always have, but it happens even more now that I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home).
I’ve also always had a very blurry line between personal and professional in online forums, too. Take Twitter, for example: my private Twitter account is very much my life stream – it’s full of anecdotes about my personal life, as well as my professional life – but I’m largely connected there with people I have a professional link to. My friends and family don’t do Twitter, but this hasn’t stopped my private account from being the domain of non-work talk. I have a clear line in my mind about what gets posted to my private Twitter account, and what gets posted to my public one, but that line is not necessarily a marker between personal and professional – it’s more about degrees of personal (and, I have to say, what I’m willing to have my students read!). I am, essentially, a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of girl. It’s my approach to life. I share stuff. It makes me who I am, both as a person, and as a professional. I share through my private Twitter account the stuff I’d be likely to share with people in person, both personal stuff and professional stuff.
As I posted a few days ago, until recently, Facebook has been a fairly open forum for me, but I decided to cut back my friends on Facebook to include only those people I actually know and hang out with IRL. That means I’m no longer connected with many library types on there, and I’m no longer connected to people from school that I don’t hang out with IRL. Again, though, the line in the sand with Facebook is not about personal and professional – it’s about the ‘realness’ of my connection with the people I’m linked to there.
This blog has always had a clearer purpose in my mind. Although I’ve been an incredibly sporadic blogger, I’ve always blogged about professional-related topics here, and I’ve rarely injected the personal. I didn’t start this blog to talk about personal stuff – I started it to talk about professional stuff, and that’s how it’s always been. This #blogeverydayofjune challenge has changed that for me, sort of out of necessity – 30 posts in 30 days is a whole lot of professional topics.
So I’ve read with interest as Sue and Con have grappled with the idea of blogging about professional topics on personal blogs, because for me, the situation is reversed. I’m bolshy (read: loud and obnoxious) enough to say whatever I think about whatever is on my mind when it comes to professional topics (as long as they don’t set off the appropriateness radar, of course), but I’ve actually found it really uncomfortable to interject the personal here. Weird, huh? I kind of have the reverse issue that Sue and Con are talking about. That’s really strange for someone who is a compulsive sharer!
I’ve decided, though, that it’s okay to let my purpose here change, or rather, to let it diversify to match the way I am in the other forums I’m in, both online and real world, especially right now while I’m trying to figure out if I’m gonna keep blogging. In a post on online identity, Jenica Rogers wrote:
But once you’ve found your voice, and anchored it in who you are, be prepared for it to change. Your boundaries, too…
And you may discover that you yourself change as you write and talk. You may become a different person. You may join new communities. You may find a different purpose. You might want to be a different kind of speaker and writer. Honor that. Stay true to yourself and your voice, whatever that means for you. Because you always need to know why you’re doing it, and if that why changes, then let the how change, too.
I’m still not sure that I’m going to continue blogging here, and so the ‘why’ is a little unclear. In the past, the ‘why’ has been about having a space to have a voice on professional issues, other than through formal publications. So while I figure out if I want to continue with this blog, I’m going I’m going to mess around a bit with my modus operandi here. The ‘how’ is going to change up a bit, and I think that’s okay.