Thursday, 11 August 2011

Online / Offline = Same Difference

This week the world of work welcomed me back into it's comforting little embrace.

With the sad demise of my Lady of Leisure status came a realisation. When you work and play online, the world - and London in particular - gets a hell of a lot smaller. The other day, two people I know in real life popped up on my Twitter feed, then later, pseudonyms I'd only normally interact with on an out-of-work level cropped up during the course of my 9 to 5. It was all getting a little incestuous, a bit "Morning, co-workers. A/S/L?"

My first steps into blogging were made in a pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter era, when Bebo and MySpace were popular sources of ex-related paranoia, and keeping your surname quiet was about as anonymous as you needed to be. As a student, then secretary, then minion in the TV industry, the idea of someone offering me a job which didn't involve managing diaries, making tea (and as long time readers will remember, microwave dinners) was a long way off. Print journalism and television were where those with an "Excellent grasp of the English Language (and a 2:1)" went to nurture their careers. Social media as we know it now wasn't really on the radar, and neither were the accompanying jobs for 22 year old graduates.

Blogging was a personal endeavour; work a source of writing material. That was that.

If I'd have known that all this online time-wasting would one day get me a job, then I'd probably have done things differently. I'd have cut out the time spent getting hauled into the TV Editor's office for "upsetting the talent" (yeah, you heard) and started writing online either as myself, or under the stealthy guise of Jemima Puddleduck. But hindsight's a wonderful thing.

These days, it's all change. You watch companies on Twitter and Facebook pumping a stream of witty, strategically thought-out one liners into your online life, knowing that @PollyPepper, Bio: Social Media Guru, having just told you about their tequila hangover, has switched accounts to promote Topshop's 2 for 1 on knickers. Everywhere you look, the lines are blurring.

Anonymous bloggers by their very nature pique curiosity, and I bet most of us would gladly share more if the offline world understood. But as most have learnt, a lot of the time they just don't.

So here's the news:  I'm employed. That's good, innit? In time, I might not be. Who knows? But fear not, dear readers: if you don't hear about it, you haven't missed out.

It's just with the online world shrinking 'n' all, I might not be sharing.


Blonde said...

I hear ya on the blurry lines.

My blog used to be entirely anonymous. People 'in real life' didn't know about it, and that was that. But since the social media explosion, and its entrance into my line of work, things have become more confused.

Now, the people who don't know about my blog/twitter feed are the 'real life' friends I've known longest, and my colleagues. But I imagine it won't stay that way for long.

Anonymous said...

You know well how I feel about it all and how I sometimes wish I hadn't allowed the lines between online and offline to blur in the way that they did. I found myself self-censoring. It's one of the reasons I shut my blog down in the end.

When it comes to work, having discovered a previous employer had been reading it (I imagine they kept tabs on what people were looking at online and found it that way - I discovered their IP address all over it one day when I was at home sick!), I am cagey about my experience with blogging and Twitter etc.

My current employers/colleagues didn't know I still blogged but that I had in the past. I maintain a Twitter account under my real name alongside the one my blog readers know me. I do this because they know I use Twitter and social networking is something that interests me. I don't want them prying into my online life so my named account is a diversion for them; they don't think I'd have another one going.

The Boy last night asked if I'd ever share all of that stuff with him. He said: "You know, if we get married and it looks like we'll really be together forever?" He said he wanted to know that I could be completely open with him.

I'm not sure how I feel about that...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Blonde - Yeah I'm pretty much the same with my Twitter account / blog. Real life good friends, family etc know I have a blog, and either don't read, or don't know where it is. Twitter has been the main culprit in blurring the lines. And making sure I've got separate emails for everything. Biggest mistake when I started was not realising everything Gmail would eventually link up over everything. Pain.

Soupy - Like you, I sometimes find it difficult to have people online who know (expect?) to hear about changes to your life. I also have a 'decoy' Twitter account and blog to put forward to colleagues, real life friends. I always wondered what you told your boy, because you blogged quite heavily about him. What's the situation, he just knows you have one but not what you blog about?

Breeza said...

Congrats on the job!

Anonymous said...

He knew when we first met that I have an interest in social media and he'd obviously see me on my phone tweeting away.

He knew that I had a blog and that it was anonymous, that it was a place to just ponder stuff but that I didn't want people from my real life to read it. He was ok with that and says it doesn't interest him really. He'd just like to know that I could tell him anything if he asked me.

I told him when I closed it down and I told him the reasons why as well. To be fair, he also knows pretty much everything I wrote on it anyway, even when ranting about him or TEBN. We do talk, despite what I think some readers used to think...!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Thanks Breeza :)

Soup - Ah I see. Thats always the arrangement I've had with my boyfriends, although they've ended up reading it at some point anyway. Who knows one day you might show him...


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