Balance Your Personal and Professional Life Online

Posted September 7, 2012 by Marcy Farrey in Networking Buzz

We’ve all heard the complaints about privacy and Facebook, and we’ve all been told to watch just how much we share on the internet. Striking the right balance can be tricky — we want to be who we are with our friends online, but we don’t want our boss or potential employers seeing every post we make.

In her article “How to Be Yourself on Social Media — Without Freaking Out Your Boss” Forbes Contributor Dorie Clark uses Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre, as an example of someone who managed to balance who he is professionally and personally. Conley faced some criticism after he posted a shirtless picture of himself at a local festival.  He later decided to keep his photos on Facebook because they were authentic — he was out and enjoying life, and that fit with the mission of his business. Conley offered a few tips to help you be authentic online while still being a professional. Here’s two we should always remember:

“Don’t tarnish your company’s reputation.” We’ve all had those strikes of creativity when we must write a funny blog post or make a crazy video for YouTube. It’s great to have a personal side project, but keep it personal. Don’t mention your company or work anywhere in it. Conley says not to use anything from your company, including their logo or office space. Make sure it’s clear that you’re expressing your opinions and not the opinions of the company.

“Never bash your company.” I see this one a lot on Facebook, and it’s easy to do when you have a bad day. Still, Conley says to use caution:

‘You can tell your friends, you can tell people at a dinner party, but when it comes to ‘word of mouse,’ your voice can carry a lot farther if you’re going to say bad things about your company.’ ”

Don’t post comments about how crazy your boss is or why you hate where you work. Even if you think your boss will never see it, hundreds of other people do. If you use Facebook for networking, this is even more dangerous. Do you want a potential future employer to see you bashing your current boss? When in doubt, censor any negative comments you have about work.

Now that it’s easier than ever to share our thoughts online, it’s a good time to make sure we’re sharing the thoughts that best represent who we are. Is your rant on a bad day a good representation of you as a whole? Maybe, maybe not — you’ll have to make that decision. Regardless, be prepared to stand by what you post, and own who you are online.

Read more of Conley’s tips here.

About the Author

Marcy Farrey

Marcy Farrey is a videographer, writer, and editor. In her previous life, she worked as a broadcast news reporter and producer in Lincoln, Nebraska and as a writer and producer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. Learn more about Marcy on her website


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