It's true friends, family, and followers. I have recently found out that I am indeed the "other woman". It was quite the surprise to me and really I should have found out sooner. She is quite similar to me. We have many of the same ideas, beliefs, and are even in the exact same line of work. Seems odd we haven't crossed paths actually.
Of course, she is the more reserved one. She seems to be always caring and courageous. Her friends have so very many positive things to say about her and I can't find a single compromising image of her online. Me on the other hand... I'm the quirky spontaneous one. I jump out of bed at 10:00 at night to run for out for a snack and climb trees in the woods. I watch entirely too many sappy chick flicks and listen to music that some would find objectionable. Her and I.... well. You would think if you put us together, it would be one hot mess. The truth is... her and I... we are the same. (See, it's not as scandalous as you thought :-)
"Her" and I are the exact same person. The difference is the persona I share. Let me explain...
Over the summer, I have embraced the world of Facebook one more time. The social media platform that I have never REALLY understood and so very often become agitated with because they have changed something YET AGAIN! I find myself spending more and more time on. There has been a very distinct difference between it and Twitter however. Facebook (this is my own experience and not necessarily true for all) is more casual, fun, and PERSONAL. My Twitter... while I do show my true colors sometimes, it has always been more professionally focused. But why? Why do I share/show two different sides of me? Why is there a "professional" me and a personal one? Is one more real than the other? Why have I created this "other woman" of myself?
I ask because I'm starting to reconsider thoughts I have shared. My general rule of thumb is to always have separate personal and professional accounts. There is just simply no reason for the two to mix. Especially for professionals working with minors (like say, a teacher) I still believe that to be true. However for many others, including some in education, I think it is becoming harder and harder to separate the two. For instance, this summer my family experienced a tragedy with the accidental drowning of my niece. Obviously this was a very emotional and personal time for myself and my family. I chose to share that on my blog which has always been used for professional purposes. There were a number of reasons for sharing. The biggest was that due to this personal tragedy, my professional career and conference time at ISTE had to be halted. To date, it is the second most popular post on my blog. In addition to the many comments I received on the blog, many more sent me private messages through various social media. It was a blending of my professional friends into my personal life. And that is not an isolated incident. More and more, my colleagues are becoming friends. People I have only associated with professionally have sat and talked with me until the wee hours of the morning while we were in pajamas. My family and friends are entering the education world and looking to make connections. The two worlds which were once black and white have now become grey. Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure but it is a journey none the less!
I struggle daily fighting what ideas to share and where. Which will have an effect on my career? Which do my extended family and friends need to be privvy to? And why again do I have to separate the two? There is only ONE me. Why then do I exist in so very many ways online?