The Three Social Media Lives of Me

10 Jan
The Three Social Media Lives of Me

The Three Social Media Lives of Me

I have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and boy, they could not be more different from the others.  When managing social media strategy, we often have to stop and remember that different people use social media differently. My 10 year old second cousin and my 78 year old great aunt are both on Facebook, and both use it differently.  Yet it is often instructive to think of how we use social media ourselves.  Different purposes call for different media- a retail giveaway may work best on Facebook, whereas a survey of industry professionals would be ideal on LinkedIn.  Similarly, I have been thinking recently of how I use social media personally. Each social network breeds a different persona.

When it comes to LinkedIn, I have a fairly open door policy.  If I meet someone at a professional function, I will gladly offer to connect with them on LinkedIn. Former classmates, business contacts from old jobs, previous coworkers, and those “potentials” who I hope to do business with. It’s a fairly open door policy, although I have been asked to be introduced to connections, so I know it’s important to not connect to total strangers.  I don’t think of privacy at all when on LinkedIn. I also feel free to boast on the site- if I have received a degree, been published, or am attending a conference, I say so.  In that sense, for me at least, LinkedIn is uni-directional. I promote myself professionally, let people know what I’ve been up to, and search for professional contacts. The version of myself that exists on LinkedIn is a professional dynamo that interacts little with others.

The me that exists on Facebook is much different. Professional accomplishments have no place there- I would feel too embarrassed bragging to my friends and family.  I am often acutely aware of appearing to brag or overshare on the site, so I try to keep status updates and photo sharing to a minimum- only the really good stuff, folks.  I feel that the site is much more about sharing- I see what my friends, old and new, those I see every day and those I haven’t seen in years, are doing, and so we interact. While I am hesitant to share details that are too personal, Facebook is possibly the one social site where my personality truly comes out.  Granted, I hold back because, when you have 200+ friends, not all of them will be close friends, and I shy away from controversy (I would love to post more political observations, but I have received feedback from conservative relatives and far left friends, and I have now learned that I just don’t want to go there. Ever.). But even this tendency towards being diplomatic is a hallmark of my personality. So Facebook is more or less where the “real” me resides online, along with a host of friends, family and acquaintances.

Now, although I hesitate to share political opinions on Facebook, since almost everyone I know is on there, I feel a bit more free to express myself, briefly, on Twitter.  The social media life I conduct on Twitter has the freedom of anonymity.  My real name and picture are on my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, but Twitter is pseudonymous.  A handful of my Twitter followers have met me in real life and know who I am, but many others don’t. I’m just the user with a Tapatio bottle for a face. The anonymity is freeing. Political opinions? Check. Retweeting corny jokes or gossip news? Check. I really don’t care who knows. The Twitter account is mostly for fun, and I have particularly found that the LATISM family on Twitter- that’s Latinos in Social Media– has been a wonderful community to find- Latinos from all over the U.S., of every social and political bent, reminding me what a dynamic community we have out there. My Twitter use is infrequent- I may check in once in the evenings, maybe once during my lunch break- but I always read something funny, something insightful, and find others to connect with.

Three different personas, three different ways of being online, all in different communities and for different purposes. Our social media experiences are what we make them, regardless of what social networks we use and why we use them. How do you use social media? And are you a “different” person on different social networks?

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2 Responses to “The Three Social Media Lives of Me”

  1. Cynthia January 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Have you seen the documentary “Catfish” yet? You’d probably really like. Lots of fodder for thought.

    I agree, LinkedIn is like an extension of work, altho I don’t really feel like I can deschongarme on FB either.

    • lebanexican January 18, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

      I am curious to see Catfish, though I was told how it ends 😦 Funny how, when writing this post, I realized how much I feel constrained in expressing my full opinions on FB, mostly cause of the presence of certain relatives on there. We’re all doing a little dance on all these networks to present different, idealized versions of ourselves.

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