Should You Separate Your Work and Personal Identities?

personal-professional-identities

I have two separate Twitter accounts and two separate Google+ accounts. I tweet and post regularly from all of them. Why? I want to keep my personal and professional identities separate.

At EnVeritas Group, I work as a digital media coordinator. What that means is that I do social media—posting, interaction and strategy. Since social media is my job, I want to have a presence as someone who is an expert, thought leader if you will, on all things social media and content marketing, as well as someone who keeps up with industry news and connects with others in the industry.

Before starting work at EVG, I never had to worry about my personal identity clashing with my professional identity—being a student wove itself well into my identity, and at my previous job I worked largely as a project manager. I branded my Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages as a creative writer and hopeful someday novelist. My personal blog is a writing blog, and all of these outlets discussed writing, followed other writers, and joined writing-based communities. I didn’t think it was a good idea to try to brand myself as a digital media coordinator and as a writer on the same page, especially when my main audience is other writers. So I took the plunge—I created a separate work-related Twitter.

My LinkedIn, already work-central, became much more active with the dive into my role as digital media coordinator. I created a Google+ page for my professional role, entirely different than my personal, writing-focused Google+.

For me, it was a brilliant move. I have the ability to keep things professional on my professional pages, as well as push all of the awesome content happening at EVG, and at the same time I can focus on my brand as a writer with my other pages.

Is separating personal and professional the right move for you? My identity as a writer is a lot more forgiving than as a professional—for example, dropping the f-bomb and talking about whiskey isn’t so bad on my writing Twitter. Writers are known to be a little…you know, eccentric. But on a Twitter that brands me as an ambassador of EVG? Absolutely not.

Should You Separate Identities?

Separating your identities might not be right for you. It depends on how active you are on social media, what your job title is, and if you really want to effectively brand yourself as a professional. Here’s a list of a few things to consider when deciding whether or not you want to separate identities:

  • Do you actively use a personal twitter for personal things?
  • Do you have multiple jobs or multiple things you do, and do you want to keep those separate? (For example, if I sell jewelry in my spare time and work as a sales consultant during the day, I want to keep those separate)
  • Are any of the following a big part of your job: social media, the latest technology, or staying on top of industry news?
  • Is acquiring leads a part of your job? Or even something that would be cool if it happened?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you should absolutely consider separating your personal and professional identity on twitter, Google+, and perhaps other social media as well.

Vanessa Levin-PompetzkiDigital Media Coordinator 

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