Professional vs. Personal — A Balancing Act

First, let me apologize. This post is just a little more than week late. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a lot of family stuff come up and it left me with no time for blogging. I tried to type up this post for the following day, but things just continued to get out of control and I just couldn’t squeeze it in.

So. Apologies.

But perhaps that’s a great start to this post, which is continuing my Online Identity series by discussing how to balance our professional side with our personal one.

Our professional side should try to focus our content on information about our work or the industry, and not what our kids/spouses are doing. That’s not to say you can’t share the funny thing your spouse said/did on your professional identity, but it shouldn’t be the only thing being said.

Balance is key.

Balancing the amount of professional information and the amount of personal information we put out via our online identities is not easy. It takes time to figure out a good balance, and what works for one person might not work for another. It sucks that there isn’t a magical formula for this — all we have is trial and error.

But to help us start, we should first establish the focus of our online identity. My Twitter name is @AliceMcElwee and the focus of this account is writing and knitting. I try to tweet as much information about writing as I do about knitting. Occasionally, I will tweet something completely off the wall — for example, I tweeted this morning about morning sickness and pregnancy.

I’m excited that I’m seven weeks pregnant, but my Twitter isn’t focused on being a “mommy Twitter”, so I will strive to limit the mommy-to-be/pregnant tweets and save them instead for my personal blog.

Still, my tweeting about this new, exciting part of my life is connecting me with new people and hopefully these new people I am connecting with turn into potential readers.

But I shouldn’t neglect the writers and knitters who follow me in favor of my new followers. Likewise, I don’t want to lose new followers by not talking about the things that brought them to me in the first place.

The more areas your online identity is focused on, the more you have to work at it. If my online identity is focused on writing and knitting, then 50 percent of the information I put out there is about writing and the other half is about knitting. But if I add mommy-to-be topics as a focus, then I have to cut my output into thirds. One third writing, one third knitting and one third mommy-to-be stuff. And so on and so forth.

Therefore, it’s in my best interest to leave my online identity focused on writing and knitting, because that is what I’ve worked toward and only include tidbits here and there about being a mommy-to-be.

Balance. Tricky, but once you figure out what works for you, it’s a beautiful thing.

There are many different ways to balance professional with personal. How do you do?

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7 responses

  1. Most of the people I network with are moms. Moms who blog/write/bake but it’s still very hard to balance. You’d think after four years, I’d be doing it well LOL

    April 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    • Balancing is hard work and takes a lot of time to figure out what works for YOU. I’m still in the process of learning what works for me.

      April 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

  2. I don’t know that I know how to balance….

    April 27, 2011 at 8:06 am

  3. Having taken a pen name helps me keep things separate, I even use two different browsers for the two halves of my life. Sure there’s stuff that will cross over but I’m still new enough at this to say I don’t know what that will be.

    You’ve brought up some very thought provoking points!

    BTW congrats, I hope you have a smooth pregnancy and delivery.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:48 am

    • That’s awesome. I have too much going on right now to consider a pen name, but it has crossed my mind. Maybe someday … far into the future. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and again, thanks for the RT on Twitter.

      Thanks! It’s my first pregnancy…I’m super excited, but at the same time, it really hasn’t “hit” me yet. I’m sure once I have my first prenatal and hear that little heart beat it’ll all change.

      April 28, 2011 at 8:57 am

      • Yeah, that first heart beat is awesome and the first movement…sigh

        My main reason for the pen name was the wee beasties, four of the li’l darlings. My worry is/was when this career takes off and the traffic moves beyond family and friends that my personal blog has too much, well, personal info on it.

        If I’d been even remotely thinking of pursuing writing when I set up that blog I would have done things drastically different. You have the advantage of starting with the writing and can control the family content you put out there so your real name should be fine.

        I’d have loved to at least used my maiden name (which I’ve always used professionally) but apparently someone is already publishing under it and most of the online real estate for my married name is already taken. It’s all good though, because I got to name myself what I always wished 🙂

        April 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm

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