When I started my consulting business 11 years ago, virtually everyone told me to market my services under a company name, rather than to promote myself under my own personal name. No one would hire an individual freelancer, I was told. I needed to appear to be a “organization.” Organizations were more stable, more trustworthy, and more marketable. I wasn’t keen on adding “& Associates” to my name, thus EcoScribe Communications was born.
Oh, how times have changed.
In the last decade, with the rise of social media, especially blogging and social networking sites like Facebook, the personal often carries much more cache than the organizational. Small business people like myself are urged to let their faces and personalities shine through — and even corporate America doesn’t want to be faceless any longer.
Now nonprofits are wrestling with these same issues, too.
How much of a staff member’s personality — and personal life — should shine through in a nonprofit’s newsletter or blog? What’s the right level of personal detail from staff on what are really meant to be organizational profiles on Facebook or Twitter? Should you encourage, monitor, or simply ignore what your staff say on their own personal profiles about their work lives? Can we really keep our personal and professional lives online separate, and even if we can, should we?
I’m hosting a webinar on The Personal/Professional Mix: Getting it Right in Social Media on July 15 (Rescheduled from July 1). During the webinar, I’ll share some examples from the nonprofit sector about finding the right mix of the personal and the professional and also offer some tips on making the right decisions for you and your organization. I don’t have all the answers, but I will help you frame up the discussions so you can talk intelligently about your options with others in the office.
For now, here’s what some smart folks in the nonprofit world are saying:
Does Your Nonprofit Need a Social Media Policy? (Beth Kanter)
Why We’re Not Friends Anymore (Michelle Murrain)
The Two Paradoxes of Identity in the Digital Age (Maddie Grant)
How are you handling the personal/professional mix online? Leave a comment and share your story!