Developing a well-balanced online presence (socially, personally, and professionally) can be a challenge and never perfect. I maintain a blog and a twitter oriented toward all things library. However, I consider them more a long the lines of musings and passion versus deep thesis like research into the inner-workings of the information world. It also allows me to go back and see myself in the past, as a graduate student, new law librarian, and during times of transition. I keep up on Linkedin as the most obvious professional social network but don’t update it like “tweets”. In fact, I find myself questioning that function on Linkedin. Do I need to update it as I do my twitter: “cataloging a set of new treatises” or “found a patent that looks to enslave apes (à la Planet of the Apes)”? It feels unnecessary. Linkedin is more like a living resume. Professionalism on social networks also means keeping politics, religion, and negativity out. Sure, I can criticize a publisher’s practice or pricing, but that’s part of being a Librarian is it not?
This leads to Facebook. My original intention with FB was friends only: people with whom I’ve known for a decent amount of time, gone to bars, and developed a more personal/social relationship. In time though, Library friends and co-workers grow into people with whom you go to bars! The only major difference that you’ll find on FB, versus my other social networks, is a list of school buddies and tons of Star Wars references. While it isn’t littered with library-oriented materials; library things are certainly there. If anything, looking at my FB page has me fingered as an uber-nerd.
The librarians that challenge my concept of online professionalism are what I call “the hardcore”. By hardcore, I mean the ones who are opinionated to the point of extremism and swear like sailors. Perhaps they are like this in real life but perhaps they are really sweet, love cats, and are quite tolerant (like most librarians I know!). Obviously, the Internet provides a great facade but my point with all this is to accurately portray who I am. You can go back, read my posts, my tweets, and ask me about them. Honestly, I am able to talk about my social presence (in person) with a straight face. It circles back to something my Library School Professor, Scott Nicholson said: “if what you do in the library was made public in a newspaper article would you still do it?”