The topic on personal branding is timely as I have been thinking lately about how my online presence might be perceived by others. I had always used anonymous user names in the social networking sites I frequented in the past so I had never given too much thought to maintaining an online image.
When my former social networking site geared towards adults over forty went defunct however, the majority of the users that I had up to then only known anonymously moved over to Facebook. Owing to the format of Facebook this meant that we then discovered who each of us were in real life. Some people recreated their anonymous profiles but the majority of us revealed ourselves and our real lives.
There were some growing pains in this move mostly owing to the format changing from unrestricted online conversations to more moderated conversations. Some friendships were broken over what was and was not considered to be appropriate content and on whose wall that content was being revealed.
New friendships were formed during this time as well. This I believe was due to the transparency that was occurring in what had once strictly been our online personas but which now also represented our real life personas. While the anonymity that the former social networking site fostered allowed us to be more revealing, revealing our true identities on Facebook allowed us to become more real.
Now as I begin to look for a professional position in a library I know that I will be hesitant to add future coworkers to my Facebook page and wonder if I need to create a separate Facebook account for work. I do not think that I post anything that might be deemed inappropriate by others but this is of course subjective. For example while reading some of the posts in the discussion board for this very class I see how easy it is for some people to take offense at something that might be considered to be benign by others. Is transparency the best policy or is discretion? At this point I am not sure.