Public and Private Personas

At first, I was going to write a post about the entire Geek Girl issue, but I’ve never gotten an angle on it that I felt comfortable writing about.  Frankly, I think the topic is something Kaja is better of writing rather than me.  Instead, I think I’ll talk about public / private personas especially when dealing with marketing the store.

Being Public

Both Kaja and myself to a lesser extent have a ‘public’ persona.  Kaja’s much more obvious with her being the main employee face in our video reviews.  I, on the other hand mostly post on the twitter account and the blog.  As these are ‘corporate’ personas, they are in some ways different from our private personalities.  As a simple example – both Kaja and I swear a lot less when posting / reviewing for the company.   There’s a certain level of professionalism that is both expected and required when we ‘work’.  While Starlit Citadel allows us to be more ‘us’ than a job in say, a bank; it still requires a level of professionalism.

The problem with having a public persona, especially one online; is that you open up to a lot more comments & discussions than any other job does.  It surely is something that you invite, but due to the nature of how we interact online, it removes some of the perceived barriers between the public and private.

This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen in other jobs, it’s just that we are in a way both inviting more comments.  There’s a difference between the salesperson you see in the store and the salesperson who invites you back to his house for a BBQ.

The Medium is the Message

Alright, this isn’t exactly right since the medium is the Internet. However, there’s a difference between say a blog post with a video review with a twitter message with a FB post.  Some are perceived inherently to be more permanent (blog posts, video messages) than others (a twitter message).  The same comment posted as a blog post would be taken differently than one on Twitter.

The Private Line

In a way, as public personas we dictate the line that is drawn by what we speak about / discuss publicly.  For example, by never posting about personal events on a public account, we don’t invite comments about our personal lives.  That’s a line that we draw.  I post about the business, so I expect to get questions about the business – but I stay away from actual sales numbers, which is why I’ve never received a question about ‘what’s your sales’.  Again, we set the expectation.

The issue is, while we perceive this line to be set not everyone gets the memo.  Sometimes, its just a matter of lack of clarity – there’s no actual document out there saying do not say X or comment on Y.  Sometimes, it’s because we actually cross the lines accidentally, or just haven’t ‘set’ the lines as tightly in our own minds.   After all, there’s nothing wrong with interacting socially with customers right? Mostly….

Resetting those lines though requires a touch of finesse.  A great example is comments on Kaja’s & Joanna’s appearances on the videos.  Sure, they are pretty and complimenting them on this is fine… but at a certain point, these comments stop being compliments and just become creepy.  However, because it’s a ‘corporate’ account, we have to be careful of exactly how we reset those lines.

That public / private line issue is much more apparent for Kaja than me.  Part of that of course is the medium, part of that is what we discuss (I’m boring with my business posts) and partly, it’s the gender thing.  For some reason, being female in some minds means that the line gets reset back a lot further than if you were male.

Balancing where and how we talk about these things is a constant issue, and frankly; one that is both intriguing in an academic sense and frustrating sometimes on a personal level.

4 thoughts on “Public and Private Personas”

  1. I appreciate Kaja and Joanna doing the review videos, even if they get creepy comments (comments can be disabled, maybe they ought to be), because they provide a good role model for my daughter, who sees women gamers, and adults who are doing something interesting and constructive, not vapid or self-destructive. Keeping gender balance in the presentation of the board game world is really important, and just makes it a nicer hobby to participate in. Also, they are good at doing the reviews. So, thanks!

    1. Well, we want comments as it lets us interact with our audience and potentially improve the videos. Thankfully, the number of creepy comments are relatively low especially in comparison to the total number of comments.

  2. Tao,

    I applaud this post and congratulate you on how it is crafted. Well written!

    I also applaud the videos that Starlit produces as they are succinct, professional, and give me a very good feeling about what my interest in the game may or may not be. It is clear that a lot of work and effort goes into each video to streamline it and to maximize its density of content. I am sorry to hear that these points are sometimes overshadowed by others.

    1. Thanks David. I often feel like I am just going ‘blah’ on most posts, so nice to know when I do bother to edit, it makes a difference!

      And the videos are all Kaja’s doing these days. Some (not a lot!) coaching and editing in the first place and now she handles it very well. It helped that we had a very clear objective with the vidoes in the first place – it had to be within our 8 minute max timeframe (preferably 4 – 5) and it had to educate someone who would never see another review.

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