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.
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.