Today was the first day of school in a new school for my kids. What's new can be scary, very scary. I know my kids were a little nervous as they waited in the school yard ready to start their first day.
It's new territory. This is a new routine, new teachers, new friends, and new bicycles! We're close enough to ride bicycles to school - and so almost every day for the past few weeks we've been rehearsing the ride. This morning was the big day!
I'm sure many nonprofits (and foundations) who enter into the waters of social media for the first time feel this nervousness and perhaps fear. Here's a new fear:
There's a fine line between personal and personality and being human and being professional. This seems to be the theme that is happening the comment thread over at Sean's Tactical Philanthropy blog in the comments about his Learning From Foundation Tweets post.
I asked Sean, why are we so scared of showing our human side?
Sean felt that the definition of professional in our culture is about stripping out our individual personalities. He feels that it is mistake. Kivi Leroux Miller, in the comments, thinks that being human engenders trust. "If you think about knowledge or wisdom coming from looking at information and experiences from a certain perspective, then I think we need to see some of that human side to really appreciate that perspective and to trust it – if that makes sense."
It is also important not to set too many rules about "personality" or we risk becoming Stepford Wives or unauthentic. It does help to have a general philosophy and guidelines might help. And, aside from Wendy Harman's "Don't embarrass your mother rule," there the balancing act. You don't just want to blog about your pets and children all the time.
My rule for blending in personality is to always link it back in a way to my professional areas of interest. It's funny, one of my most popular and highly rated posts was about celebrating my 22nd wedding anniversary and sharing advice about blogger cultivation.
So, like the first day of school at a new school and new routine, blending in personality might be a little uncomfortable or scary, but it can also make your social media strategy more effective. Agree?
How has your organization grappled with the fine line between personal and personality?