Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Do You Let It All Hang Out?

Last spring I set up a Facebook account, and then promptly forgot about it. Over the last several months my friend The Graphic Goddess has become rather smitten with the social media and kept pinging me to become an active user.

If prompts had been coming from a family member or old high school acquaintance, I could have easily continued to ignore the mosquito bites for another century, but she’s a goddess for god’s sake. How do you ignore a goddess? Not only does she have awesome and strange powers, she keeps me rolling in graphic bling and stays up really, really late working on client projects, so it’s only fair I return the attempt to humor.

So two days ago I decided to actually start tackling the beast (Facebook, not the Goddess), and I have to admit it can be rather addictive, but it’s a time suck people. If I thought blogging could easily eat away at a day, my god, add Facebook and I’ll have to skip showering, eating and working, and I’ll have to completely give up mothering or hanging out with my husband.

I quickly realized I need to put my time management skills into over-drive, and while I was busy dust-busting the idea of prioritizing 101, I spent a couple of minutes contemplating why I’d want to use social media. Do I want to use it as a professional networking tool? To reconnect with old friends or colleagues, to stay abreast of what’s happening in the lives of family and friends? All of the above sounds good, but it’s incredibly strange to have those professional and personal elements of my life intertwining.

When you set up a Facebook profile, you have the option to include your websites, etc. Of course it makes sense to include my company website, but should I include my blog? What about the two publications I blog for, which both provide links back here to Shout?

I have no illusions that Shout is private, and I don’t really want it to be. You read it (thank you). My parents read it, my husband peruses it, my stepchildren stop by, and we’ve all had lots of fun. I can assure you Shout has also created a handful of personal controversy for me over the last year. I’ve been rather candid about a multitude of things including my struggle with infertility; we’ve discussed domestic violence and other hot-button issues.

While contemplating this and more on the phone with The Graphic Goddess today, she made the point that in today’s Web 2.0 world, there is less of a separation between the personal and the professional. I suppose she’s right and any Google search of my name is going to pull up a blog post here or there.

Many people blog anonymously. I’m not sure there really is such a thing as anonymity on the Web, but it’s a comforting illusion. If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know my mouth is too big for me to hide, and it’s a rare post that simply includes typical mom-blog fodder like photos of my child. Maybe my professional colleagues and clients already know I’m a little warped, and already expect this type of thing from me.

What about the parents of your children’s friends, do they read your blog?

What’s your experience with social media? Do you try to keep your professional and personal lives separate? or do you just let it all hang out? Why?

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20 comments to Do You Let It All Hang Out?

  • Jan

    You have time management skills???

    Excuse me while I pause to bow to the almighty Tricia. Time management skills – whoa. (Can you tell I lack them?)

    I have a MySpace, which I blogged briefly and futilely on before setting up the Sushi Bar, and, egged on by a friend of mine I have a FaceBook account, which I largely ignore. Blogging already consumes me – if I started actively using MySpace, FaceBook or Twitter, I’m afraid Beloved would yank our internet connection.

    As for being private – dear, there’s NOTHING private about me, and since I work with and for my Beloved, our personal and professional lives have become so intertwined that we couldn’t separate them if we tried.

    Jans last blog post..It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time…

  • I have a myspace page, which is where I began blogging, but I haven’t done anything with it beyond updating personal information since I moved to the larger blogosphere in 2007. People always ask me if I have a Facebook or Twitter account. But blogging is so much work (fun work!) as it is, the thought of doing anything else gives me a migraine.

    Memarie Lanes last blog post..Like custard on the pudding of the soul.*

  • you said it–I enjoy blogging :) and other people’s blogs, but facebook has been a useful tool to find old friends and chat a bit, but beyond that? Not sure what the appeal is.

    garys last blog my wee little muffin said to me:

  • I just stick to the advice of George Bernard Shaw: If there’s a skeleton in your closet, you may as well make it dance. Secrets are way to much work, and we are all more similar than dissimilar anyway. I find the bloggers who are the most open about stuff are the most interesting. By the same token, paying attention to the little warning voice in my head when I’m on the Web or on the streets is a good thing too.

    Cheri @ Blog This Mom!s last blog post..Laura’s Lucky Ducky Birthday Giveaway

  • I have a myspace and a facebook page and use to be consumed by them and then I started twittering which we all know is just one of the basic features of both myspace and facebook. Now I mainly just do my thing here and I check the other places when someone sends me a message and I get an alert, but my content is stale. I have my work information on those other two sites and don’t link to this blog because no one in my family, except my sister and HBL, know I have this and I’d rather keep it that way.

    Besides, sometimes I’m not all that professional on here so this is a nice retreat from the stuffy world of business.

    p.s. You’re a goddess too, remember?

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..Letter to Santa

  • Wow, I’m going to have to come back to check out the comments on this one! Yeah, I’m going to have to go back to my Facebook page and check to see if my website is all that visible. Recently some people from my hometown have found me on Facebook, and I’m not all that sure I want them on my blog. I mean, sometimes I kind of rip on the old homestead (good naturedly, but you never know what you’re going to say that will get people riled up) and one of these days I might even do a post about the people in my hometown, and I would prefer they not see that. And otherwise, when I first started my blog my parents got a little bent about some of the things I said. Now they’ve kind of chilled out though.

    HeatherPrides last blog post..What If, Ye Olde Internets?

  • My kids and family have been trying to get me on my space and face book for awhile now and I keep bulking at the idea because frankly, I barely have enough time to write in my own blog and read and comment on blogs the way it is. I love blogging…it has connected me to so many wonderful people and I love reading the insights, wisdom and opinions of others. If I took on anything else like this I may as well forget about making meals, cleaning, laundry, sleeping…I’m afraid my husband, would make my computor disappear while I’m sleeping some night or cancel the internet.

    Most people don’t know I have a blog. A few family members might read it once in awhile but they don’t say anything about it. My children read it once awhile but other then my one daughter, they don’t say much either. I like it this way…some times I wish I hadn’t told my children or family because I do censor some of what I write.

    Loris last blog post..Life in the deep freeze

  • Tricia

    I agree with everyone who’s said they love blogging and prefer it to Facebook. My blog feels like a little piece of home and I adore the people I’ve met through this medium. Facebook seems fun, but also there’s not enough meat there. It doesn’t feel as thoughtful.

    Now, whether or not I’ll actually link to my personal blog is still a question in my mind.

  • I keep my name off my blog, but family members read it, and even a couple of my son’s teachers, I think, so I am careful about what I say on it.

    I was on MySpace only to see what my teenager was doing. I don’t have any interest in Facebook at this point.

    Smalltown Moms last blog post..The Bus to Guinness

  • A decade ago, the buzz term was “work-life balance” and while many employers didn’t fully comprehend the concept, they did comprehend its importance and used the term as a recruiting tool.

    The idea has evolved a bit since then, particularly with more of us working from home. There has also been a shift in communication styles. Even B2B is more focused on communicating human to human than business to business.

    It’s no longer a matter of balancing the work persona with the home persona, now there is the understanding that it is the same person. The idea that the person you just contracted to rewrite your landing page is a real human with a life – with values and trials and kids who miss the bus – can be a selling point. Your clients, and their clients, are real people too.

    It’s still very important to remember that the internet is not the place to whine about your last boss or recount the details of that one time at band camp…

    coffeejitters (Judy Haley)s last blog post..Crossing the 520 Floating Bridge on a Windy Day

  • oh, and yes I use facebook – we’re planning our 20 yr high school reunion through it (I don’t know how people planned these things before the internet). I link to my blog, but I’m careful about not putting anything in my blog that I don’t want anyone to see. If it’s on the internet, it out there, don’t bother trying to hide it.

    coffeejitters (Judy Haley)s last blog post..Crossing the 520 Floating Bridge on a Windy Day

  • I have a lot to think about as I’m fairly new at any of this. I choose to be anonymous on my blog as I did not want my writing or views to be subject to critisism from the admin or parents of the school where I teach. I wanted the blog to be a creative outlet all my own.

    But all of the blogging friends I have made are not even in this state. So, it’s not like I’m that concerned about my anonymity.

    I’ve thought about facebook, but cannot seem to keepup with blogging and it’s mate, my writing, whcih is supposed to be inspired by my blogging.

    conundrum, yes?

    phhhsts last blog post..Spin Cycle: What if?

  • The trouble is if you have a blog and you Twitter and you have a MySpace/Facebook page, where is the room for your life?
    It is seriously addictive and you end up sat in front of a monitor all the live long day!

    Taras last blog post..A rant

  • it is an interesting question, this division of personal and public and the role of blogs and such, and one i’m always thinking about, particularly when it comes to screening access to the kids and when making sure i do not blab insensitively regarding others or thoughtlessly about husband’s professional life. but like cheri above i think we are all more similar than strange, and the more open we are about experiences, then the more supportive can be the blogging community. i cannot do any other social/computer-based medium. like tara, i would seriously worry about doing ANYTHING ELSE!

    grits last blog post..Hotel de ant

  • I rue the day I ever set up a Facebook account.
    My family and friends read my blog, and I prefer it that way. They keep me in line. Imagine the fun I could have if I were to post under a different name. On second thought, I probablyh shouldn’t go there.;)

    Sammanthias last blog post..Happy Birthday, Carter…

  • I keep getting invites to join facebook but have resisted so far. My children are against it. That wouldn’t stop me but I just can’t imagine having one more thing to manage. Blogging has sort of taken over my life so how much more can I do? I don’t possess those time management skills you speak of. I try to stay somewhat anonymous as far as names go but have plastered pics of my family all over the place. So much for that. I have kept my blog from the people at work. I don’t really talk about work on the blog but should I ever decide to……

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..THE MAKING OF A BIKER CHICK – Custer, SD

  • a few people I know read my blog because I know they won’t judge me or faint or anything by reading it. (and they are close friends) Alot of bloggers who I met blogging, who read my blog, know my real name and all that. I don’t mind that either. BUT I don’t want my kids’ parents to be reading my blog. It was a near miss when my old url end up on my town’s online forum in a discussion about “blogs I like to read” from someone who had stumbled on my blog. (I didn’t know her and don’t know her, but I started getting alot of hits from my local area and know that someone I know may have read some of it before I moved urls in November). One day that may not be so and often folks are “outed” and it creates controversy and problems…or not. I am trying to avoid it for now. But one day would like to have it all out there when I am ready. Why not? I write for myself for the most part and the blogging community is an added bonus, for me. I really enjoy it as part of my day.

    On Facebook, it is a time sucker. I limit myself to about ten or 15 min a day. I also don’t post my whole world there for everyone to see (since i have 247 or something friends….) I like being connected and see it as a personal address book in a way for me and a way to reconnect and be in touch. It also has brought me some business which is nice. I HATE all that added stuff that happens on Facebook, there used to be some “chuck a vampire at your friend” application, maybe it is still around, I don’t know. I post some photos but not a million. I have a few of me and J from my recent trip to see him. J and i just became friends on facebook and he has been on facebook three times since he signed up in 2006 and only has 7 friends. No time for it. Anyway, that’s my extensive comment on your blog. Ha ha. I should probably write a blog post about it, eh?

    movin’ down the roads last blog post..I’m talking about boobs again

  • there is no way i could do all the social networking stuff, even tho i already have a facebook account…there just isn’t time…i have multiple blogs…the one y’all know, one that is completely private (just derg stuff on it) and one that i am doing as a newsletter for an organization i belong to to (again with the dergs)

    somewhere in there i actually have to have a life…

    and the provacy thing…a touchy subject with me…pobably a blog post on it soon…

    thistles last blog post..Manic Monday #151

  • …er…that’s ‘privacy’…not provacy…oops

    thistles last blog post..Manic Monday #151

  • I enjoy the social networking sites. I think they serve an excellent purpose of allowing you to keep up with a lot of people on a daily basis, even if it’s a bit shy of personal. I like MySpace for the voyeuristic aspect – as long as a page is public, you can see others’ profiles and pictures without having to interact with them. The music elements of MySpace are excellent, too – you no longer have to visit individual artist Websites to find out tour dates or album release info.

    Facebook is the more mature of the pair, with the tiered networking. I like to see what my friends and old classmates are thinking or blogging about from day to day, even if I’m not talking to them. If you have a CrackBerry, you can have Facebook or MySpace updates sent straight to you!

    Social networking lets me spend more free time with the people I’m closest to, instead of having to constantly ‘touch base’ to stay connected.

    Dougs last blog post..Moving On From Comics

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