Social Media Accelerates the Blurring of Life and Work

Indeed many people see interweaving as a natural way of operating, a sort of throwback to the cottage-industry days when life was integrated and whole. It seems a healthy reaction to the organizational age system, which split work and life into compartments and required you to be one person here, another there.

Richard Florida – The Rise of the Creative Class – p. 153

I have six e-mail addresses, two of which I check regularly for work and personal usage, respectively, the other four of which forward automatically to my personal account.

I maintain two separate Google accounts, one for work, one for personal use.

I tried two Twitter accounts for a while, sporadically save bookmarks to three accounts on Del.icio.us and have intermittently maintained two YouTube user names (in addition to my presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, GoodReads, CouchSurfing.com, amongst others).

If you spend any time looking at the activities of any of these “online identities,” you’ll come to the same conclusion I have: it’s unsustainable, inefficient.

And it requires added time that I’m just not willing to give up.

Professionalism

So the solution seems that I should consolidate. But that brings up some interesting questions. How much information can I make publicly available on Facebook? Should I have a separate MySpace account for more private information? How social/transparent/forthcoming can Matt the employee versus Matt the person be?

I’ve been telling colleagues that I sense a fading of the distinction between personal and professional lives brought on by social media. As I lay in bed last night reading “The Rise of the Creative Class” by Richard Florida, I realized that social media is just one part of it, albeit an interesting one.

According to Florida, casual dress at work, longer work weeks and less direct oversight of “creative types” all amount to a blurring of our personal and professional identities. And they aren’t causal, they’re effects of the dramatic shifts that have occurred in the way people live their lives now versus how they did, to quote Florida, “in the organizational age.”

Social media merely accelerates this phenomenon.

2 thoughts on “Social Media Accelerates the Blurring of Life and Work

  1. Matt,
    I definitely feel your pain on this one, especially given that my employer has a bucket full of rules about what I can and cannot do (no stock ownership, no activity in statewide or national political campaigns etc etc). I think it’s a mistake to give everything over to the work side of your life. I think it causes stress, it’s confusing and it throws away the benefits of some social networking sites. Instead of merging all my online-ness, I’ve just drawn a line. Non-work stuff like Facebook is private. You could also do this with Twitter, making your Twitter stream private, Del.cio.us and many other services.

    Like

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