Tag Archives: work

Social media schizophrenia

I struggle a lot with how much I should merge my work and personal lives in the realm of social media. My ambivalence is reflected in the ebbs and flows of my participation. Sometimes I get really excited and follow, post or comment frequently; sometimes the whole thing feels like one more ridiculously unnecessary thing I have to do, and I boycott — sometimes for weeks at a time — in rebellion.

When I first started a Facebook page under my own name I decided it was going to be very much a personal endeavor — a way to keep in touch with friends for whom I have great affection but rare face-to-face interaction. I was going to keep my list of friends small and manageable. I was going to keep work — and professional networking — out of it.

Then I saw that my husband had four times as many friends as I did, many of whom are colleagues and clients. I started feeling frantic about my lack of popularity. So I shamelessly mined his list, sending friend requests to some of the people on his list who know me, too, and should therefore consider being my “friends.”

I feared that I was missing the boat, failing to take advantage of the organic process of building a community by sharing a bit of what you think and who you are and what you find interesting.

I initially got started on Twitter as an experiment. I wanted to learn what it was all about so I could figure out how to use it use it in my job. When Raising Arizona Kids hired a social media consultant to jumpstart the magazine’s presence on Twitter, I started focusing my attention there, working to build our list of followers and develop a valuable and reliable source of information for them. My personal Twitter account foundered, a neglected sibling in my attentions.

And then there are my blogs. Yes, I have two. I had this idea that I could post about goings-on “Behind the ‘Zine” for work and write more reflectively in my personal quest to be “Making Sense of the Pieces.” But when I started ramping up the frequency of my posts for “Behind the ‘Zine,” (especially after I decided to accept the Post a Day Challenge), I essentially choked the life out of my personal blog. It’s hard enough to find time to write one post a day, let alone two, when you work full time.

But it’s also becoming increasingly more difficult to separate the work from the personal. My work pretty much is my life. Much of my identify and personal growth is wrapped up in my experiences heading a magazine. And now that my two sons are grown, gone and fully self-sufficient, even my time outside of work is largely spent on independent writing projects that have spun off of interests and passions I am now able to pursue.

Intentionally or not, I’ve blurred the lines I’d hoped to draw in my social media presence. There is no logical way to keep these two sides of my life separate. And thankfully, most of the contacts I make through my work are really amazing people with whom I’d welcome a friendship, if only we all had 48 hours in a day.

When it’s not possible (or right) to be nice

Sometimes I hate my job. Usually it’s when I have to tell someone their story is not good enough or their effort is sub-par or I think they’re being sloppy or lazy — or both.

What gives me the right? I’m far from perfect, so how can I expect so much others?

Because it’s my job. An an editor and a boss, it’s my responsibility to demand the best from people — to push them, to make them grow, to force them to dig deep inside themselves to keep getting better. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Stagnation is a slow death — for a career, for a relationship, for anything that matters. The only exciting dynamic for work, and life, is growth.

So sometimes I have to say something I don’t want to say to people who don’t want to hear it. It twists around in my head and my heart. It gives me an upset stomach and a shaky voice. Sometimes my words don’t come out quite right.

And sometimes I avoid it like the plague.

But when I do that, I’m not just denying my own responsibility. I’m denying the other person a chance to evolve. To be better. To feel better about themselves and their effort. Or to accept the ways they’re lacking and move in a different direction.

It’s not fun. I don’t like this responsibility and I don’t enjoy it. But I’m rarely sorry when I summon the courage to exercise it.

Because most of the time, despite my greatest fears otherwise, the person I have most feared talking to, or writing a critique for, responds in the best possible way: by meeting the challenge, making a better effort and embracing the gift of personal or professional development.

And sometimes, in the midst of these difficult conversations, they share insights that help me grow, too.