Who really owns your social media persona?

Twitter-logo_000jpeg One of the uncomfortable truths that social media is hoisting upon us is that the clear separation between our personal and professional lives that most of our parents enjoyed during their careers is now nothing more than an illusion, if we even try to keep up the facade.

When I look at my Facebook updates, my Tweets and even my LinkedIn account (not to mention all the other social media hot spots) I see a blend of my old high school friends, my family, my marketing peers and MMG clients.

So when I tweet about my never-ending cough or my daughter's latest role in the school play…my clients see it.  And when I have my most recent blog post or a link to a marketing article appear on my Facebook newsfeed…my high school friend the chef sees it.  There's no way to keep the two apart. 

For me, because I own my agency, that reality is pretty comfortable.  I'm mindful of it, but it doesn't change all that much for me.  After all, people are going to associate me, Drew, with McLellan Marketing Group no matter what.

But here's what I am wondering.  If you are employed by someone else — do they in essence own a part of your social media persona?  Aren't you (despite any disclaimer language) representing your employer just as much as you the person when you tweet, blog or update a status? 

  • Does your boss want you posting weekend party pictures to your Flickr account? 
  • Should you be playing "Pimp Fight" on Facebook when you know that some of your friends are also "friends" of your company?
  • Do your blog posts (again, regardless of the disclaimer) reflect on your boss or company as much as on you?
  • When you drop an F bomb in a Tweet, do you think your boss has the right to wince?

What do you think? 

Do you think employee manuals of the future will have "social media guidelines?"  Do you think your boss has a right to censor your social media activity?  Do you think you have an obligation to do so?

Interesting stuff, eh?

Update:  Check out this post from Phil Gerbyshak about employers watching what employees are saying.

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