When it comes to the Internet, how many lives do you lead? Yesterday I read Ellyssa Kroski’s article in School Library Journal, about libraries creating policies for staff social media use. Some of the recommendations include showing respect for your colleagues, not spilling organizational secrets, and adhering to your library manual’s code of conduct. Wow, I thought, we could really use something like this. But then I thought about it some more, and I wonder: to what extent can we enforce such a policy? It’s reasonable to monitor library accounts, but what about personal accounts? Here’s where it gets fuzzy.
So, how many lives do you lead? Do you have a personal Twitter account and a professional one? What about Facebook? I’ve been struggling with the split-personality thing for a long time. I’ve chosen to have one account for both work and play. It’s just too hard to separate the two. We spend at least 40 hours a week at work, and a lot more than that thinking about work–it’s natural we want to talk about it with our peers. And, I feel like I’ve made solid connections with colleagues I might not have made if it weren’t for Twitter or Facebook. There’s nothing better than bonding over Glee or getting a photographic glimpse into the rich lives of your YALSA committee members. But there’s always a trade off. Had a bad day at work? Need to let off steam? Maybe it feels right to vent in your Facebook status or make jokes about it on Twitter, but you never know who will see it. Even private profiles have a way of making it to very person you’d hoped would never see it.
But isn’t that the point of a social media policy–to discourage staff from such faux pas? I’m all for that, but don’t we deserve to have a private Web life (i.e. access by approved friends only) that also includes friends from work? And how would a social media policy fit into that? I like the idea of guidelines, and I hope that everyone would behave professionally. But one person’s idea of good judgment would make another person gasp in horror.
What to do?