You know one of those brief tweets or status updates that can easily be lifted from bigger, continuous conversations you’re having with online friends and followers? Out of context stuff. Or, it’s a user’s name that’s exploited, like this from NBC news anchor Brian Williams:
“There’s no way of knowing if the incoming text from partygirl99 is being written from Tehran or Texas.”
Poor partygirl99. Williams’ statement is very true. It is hard for traditional media to vet information coming from the public in a form they’ve never seen. It’s the AND part of the job. This AND that. Reporting, fact checking, AND now monitoring & participating in worldwide network of “on the street” de facto reporters.
<digression>… another interesting tidbit from Mr. Williams, below, is worthy of its own post)
“The belief that “social media” only feeds our national self-obsession and that the often-used phrase “online community” is, in fact, an oxymoron.” (from here)
Wha??? Oxymoron? (to be continued…) </digression)
Anyway, this is one of the silly comments used in an attempt to illustrate Twitter’s (in)significance – David Letterman’s first tweets:
What’s lifted is usually day-to-day snark or silliness that fuels a community. The stuff that can become an “inside joke” down the road. I’m always aware of that when I’m silly, snarky, or even stupid. Like recently.
I’ll try to keep this short and eventually get to my point. But first…in case you’re not up to speed on Twitter hashtags, here’s a little explanation. Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait. (Elevator music)
It started with this:
What followed was a bunch of #whackamole tweets that eventually started to show up in a search for the game “Whack-a-Mole” on Google (Whack-a-Mole was the answer to my question).
During all this #whackamole business, I had brief exchange on Twitter with @susank about monitoring social media activity for your company. Susan is Senior PR Manager at Mzinga who communicates with all sorts of people on Twitter. Like me, part of her daily work includes having conversations on Twitter. Our exchange…
Me: “i hope my employer is not monitoring what i’m tweeting. oh wait. i’m the one that monitors.”
That statement is a joke…snark…totally a problem if lifted by an employer with no sense of humor and/or who doesn’t get it. See, spending 10 minutes on whack-a-mole is (for a virtual worker) about the same as an inside joke in the physical office.
Now monitoring a company on Twitter is real-time customer service to me. It’s my “AND” job. Researcher/Analyst AND “all the social media stuff.” At Brandon Hall Research, we’re all responsible in some way for social media but I guess you could say I “own” that.
These dueling roles have created a persona issue for me.
- A local community college asked me to teach some classes about social media (for businesses) in the evening…i.e., teaching about my “AND” role.
- A friend of a friend asked if I can give some advice on how to use social media for his new venture.
- A member of the local Chamber of Commerce (I’m also a member) contacted me about using social media to support a book he’s writing.
These are all related to my “AND” role. I was all like, “how do I deal with this?” What I do is no secret but it’s getting confusing. You can teach people instructional design without having an instructional design blog but I don’t think it’s as easy to teach people ‘business 2.0’ when you don’t have an online identity about that. It’s an identity thing. A credibility thing. And, it’s a transparency thing for Brandon Hall.
I’ve got information to share about both roles. I’m still learning. And here’s how I’m dealing with it:
- A separate website for the business side of social media. It doesn’t make much sense to write about the “AND” role stuff here and it doesn’t make much sense to teach others about it when I only write about e-learning related topics here. It’s confusing.
- Separate accounts for some social networking sites to keep topics organized.
So, I’m sticking to e-learning research here with some “AND” writing on the side about the business side of things. Because that’s the way I learn best. Write about it. Talk about it. Write about it some more.
One last thing about this conflicting persona / subject matter thing…a video from a panel Mark Oehlert led at DevLearn09 with Michelle Lentz and Aaron Silvers about reputation, authenticity, and credibility. Very smart people documenting their work and becoming more knowledgeable. Just not all mixed up in one place.