Forums Writing Chapter 6 Professionalism in the age of Facebook

Professionalism in the age of Facebook

Chapter 6, lesson 4 is all about how to present yourself in a professional manner, all the time. One thing I find about most social media platforms is that the LAST thing they encourage is professionalism. Do you sometimes find it hard to maintain your professional composure when you’re spending your days “tweeting” and “friending” people?

View Profile 2009-09-30 01:42:16 PDT

Yes. I go back and forth on this. Somedays I go through what I’ve done and deleted the less professional stuff, other times I think it’s just me, and people should accept we all have flaws and the way we are, however those who make the effort to always seem professional may get the upper hand in career moves.

I think the answer is to separate them. Which is easy on Twitter (just get a new account) but facebook is nearly always best kept to personal stuff. I have people on their trying to maintain their professional look and post their work but it just comes off as fake to me.

Should really block all you Matador Editors on there ;)

View Profile 2009-09-30 04:16:34 PDT

I’ve adopted the general attitude that if people can’t accept me the way I am, then so be it. What I do in my personal life has absolutely no reflection on my ability to be a hard worker, good writer, etc. On the other hand, some things are better left private. ;)

View Profile 2009-09-30 15:41:43 PDT

I kind of do the seperation thing now. I have two facebook accounts, my “real” one and my professional one. The professional one I’ve used for all of my music-related professional contacts, including my students.

However, I’ve been “friending” on my “real” facebook account all you fellow travel writers. So, in that respect I’m kind of with Candice on that one. I like, though, that you can specify who sees what on facebook. As far as twitter, none of my friends are really on it, so I can keep it pretty professional.

View Profile 2009-09-30 17:02:30 PDT

I cast my vote for the separate accounts – one for personal friendships, one for professional – I had an issue not too long ago with someone who posted something very inappropriate to my FB page. Thankfully I caught it quickly and removed it, but if I had missed it, I certainly would not have wanted an Editor or Publisher seeing it….that was kind of a wake up call for me.

Everyone has to figure out what’s right or best for them, but to keep things more professional for my community (TWE) I set up a Fan Page and am encouraging everyone to transition to that instead…’s a tough, uphill battle to get everyone to move over, but in the long run I think it’s best for me and for TWE…..

On Twitter I only have my professional account – I can’t imagine that anyone would be interested in the mundane details of my life (“I’m doing laundry now, OMG!”) so it’s easy for me to just tweet things I think my followers would find interesting or valuable.

I do agree that people should accept us the way we are, but I also know from both sides of the coin that putting forth a professional image is still critical to impressing potential employers, editors, publishers, etc., so it really is important to carefully filter what you’re putting “out there”….

View Profile 2009-09-30 20:47:59 PDT

Good point Trisha, it’s difficult to prevent friends or others from posting something inappropriate to your Facebook. I’ve had the same issue in the past, except my Mother caught the comment and I received the tongue-lashing of the century. Twitter remains my “professional” social media.

View Profile 2009-09-30 21:20:18 PDT

Thank god my mother doesn’t know anything about Twitter or Facebook. I couldn’t imagine having to ignore a “friend” request from her, but I’m not sure I’d want her in on conversations with my closest friends either… more reason to have a “professional” account, so I could friend her first from that one, keeping the other one private :) :)

View Profile 2009-09-30 22:46:45 PDT

My parents, cousins, sister and one of my grandmothers is a friend on facebook, they are all in a group called ‘family’ which have access to nothing except my profile picture, so as long as I keep that clean, I’m good ;)

I got a comment on my blog a few days ago from a guy I spent some time with travelling ‘Hey I remember at that bar, when the girl was all over you and… argh! Delete, my mum reads this. So now every comment gets approved rather then only first comment approved. Which is a pain, but a needed failsafe.

I am tempted by the 2nd facebook account now…

View Profile 2009-10-01 03:07:41 PDT

I really like the 2nd fb account idea! I try to keep it all clean, but tracking every comment is hard.

View Profile 2009-10-01 14:31:33 PDT

Wow, I’m feeling under-accounted now. Just one Twitter, and I’m *still* not on FB. You guys have introduced a lot of good stuff to think about, though.

View Profile 2009-10-01 17:12:18 PDT

Good suggestions, everyone, I never thought of a “professional” facebook page!

View Profile 2009-10-01 21:49:36 PDT

Twitter is where I make conversation and contacts with everyone in the “professional” world. LinkedIn is strictly for people I know and work with.

As for Facebook, this is a personal thing for me. People interested in my professional work are encouraged to join the fan page for Kaleidoscopic Wandering. It’s tough keeping everything separate, but I think it’s important for me.

The more difficult thing for me is that I have two professional sides ~ a travel writer and an “other” writer (articles in other genres, YA fiction, children’s books, etc.). For a long time I had my professional site as my primary Twitter URL so that publishers/editors/other non-travel writers could find me and it made sense, but more of my travel-related contacts were landing on that page and weren’t sure what to do, so I’ve switched the URL to my travel blog. The thing is that the travel writing and general writing are not in conflict with each other, just that sometimes there are very different contacts and audiences because of it. Does anyone else struggle with keeping two professional personas from colliding?

View Profile 2009-10-03 20:36:15 PDT

This will be an interesting assignmet for me. I’m not on Facebook and I’ve never twittered. I used to spend 8 hours a day on the computer at work and didn’t want to come home and get on again.

I don’t have any idea of the etiquette of social networking. I’ve been friended by a few members here and accepted but haven’t written back – was that OK or should I have said more?



View Profile 2009-10-04 13:58:45 PDT

@Dave: As you’ll see later in the course, social media is pretty important in today’s travel writing world. But I think how you use it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you find works best for you.

@JoAnna: Not sure how this works, but could you double up on Twitter, one account for each “persona”?

View Profile 2009-10-04 20:11:23 PDT