Friday, 14 June 2013

A Curtain or A Wall? - Thoughts on Online Personal Boundaries


I've been doing a lot of thinking this week following my previous post.  

Primarily about this blog and what it's for and also the wider issue of where the boundaries in your lives are, whether they are solid, moveable or exist at all. 

As a Social Media Professional (don't laugh), I have attracted a cult following (as in small and crazy) on some social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ who expect me to post links and ideas on Social Media, new ideas, platforms, tactics etc. and how they can best use it.  I use Facebook primarily to catch up with and communicate with friends so I have already compartmentalised my social media consumption thusly. 

How have I reacted in the past when other people's boundaries start getting blurred and their real lives have intruded into their professional online persona's?  I follow a lot of social media and tech bloggers and I admit, I become more intrigued and interested when the realities of everyday life come over, because it personalises them more.  

I'm a big fan of the writer Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness projects. An attempt to lifehack and reprogram/force yourself to be happier in all aspects of your life.  Her books are an enthralling read and full of background reading, information and examples from the lives of philosophers, statesmen, spiritual leaders and other inspirational characters but the most compelling parts for me are her interactions with her husband, kids, friends and family and what happens when the rubber of her theories meets the road of reality. IE, what happens when you become a real person, not an esoteric author. 

It reassures me to know they are a real person with real life problems and not a digital avatar sat on a silicone throne pontificating on Pinterest Pages from on high, removed from the everyday digital and detritus we all have to deal with.  

Of course there are limits, WH Smiths has a tragic life story section now for horrendous memoirs so I do like them to go back on topic occasionally but the fact that they are willing to share their own experiences somehow makes them a more real writer and authentic voice than before.  

I thought about this very carefully before writing about our current immigration travails. I know the blog is different, especially this one, as it is meant to be a filtered mirror into my life back in the UK, and this problem is currently weighing me down significantly, so if I didn't make mention of it then I think I'd be doing the reader a disservice. You're here for a couple of reasons but primarily I guess, it's to hear from me.  Guy Bailey the person, not the social media enthusiast and expert, or the writer or the PR/Comms freelancer. 

I link to my blog on LinkedIn, where maybe the personal stuff should be kept to a minimum, and on Facebook where the professional stuff should be put on a leash so I apologise if I let light in on magic by lifting the corner of the curtain, but ultimately, no matter why people follow, read or connect with you on Social Media or even offline, it's because of you. 

Your knowledge, opinions, thoughts, prejudices, ideals, humour and ideas are all facets of you and while some filtering and a process of segment marketing your personality are in operation every minute you're awake, maybe it's not such a new idea. Before the internet it used to be called a conscience.

So I'm not going to make any more apologies for keepin' it real.  You're here (or on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Vine or someplace else) to hear from me, and even though I know a bunch of stuff about a bunch of stuff, none of it means anything without the filter of life and living to give it the human context.