As those who follow my social media adventures would know, I have recently made what some would no doubt see as a fairly trivial decision, but one which has weighed heavily on my mind for quite some time. I have decided to separate my personal and professional lives on Facebook by creating a ‘business’ Janine Garner page, and shutting off my existing page to all but close friends and family.
Why? A number of reasons, but mainly because of my children. They are getting to the age where their stories are becoming their own to tell, and their privacy is of paramount importance to me. I also am finding that as my profile grows – and believe me, I am profoundly grateful for this in terms of my career and my aspirations – there is a need for an area of my life where I can keep my memories – well, for me.
In David Kirkpatrick’s book The Facebook Effect, Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as saying the following:
“The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
On some levels I agree with this, because I am very driven by the need to be honest and transparent in business and in life – I think anyone who knows me is very aware of this. The idea of having ‘two identities’ really doesn’t sit well with me. But this is not about a lack of integrity, or a lack of honesty, or transparency, or authenticity. It’s not about hiding who you are in terms of social media. What it is about is being able to keep certain aspects of ourselves to ourselves. In an age of over-exposure, in a world which never stops, where Google gives us the ability to search out every nook and cranny of each others’ lives, we still need to retain some semblance of privacy.
It isn’t about fans versus family, or even having two identities – but rather about head and heart having a bit of time apart.
I don’t necessarily want my business connections to see me out having a date with my husband for example. That’s for people who know and love us both. I don’t think my business connections want to see that either! Does that represent a lack of integrity on my part? Of course not. It represents a division of self. It represents judgement and thoughtfulness; thoughtfulness for my husband, for my self, and for said connections, who have better things to do with their time than see me with a glass of wine in my hand looking smoochy.
Allow yourself a time out. A time to be just you – Janine, Mary, Fred, or even Zuck. With pets, friends, family, whoever. And respect their right to a time out too. Keep a little bit of you for you – those precious Kodak moments which you can put in your personal photo album, both virtual and real, and share with those closest to you, rather than the world wide web.
They will be all the more precious to you for it.