Can I love Miles Davis and GUCCI Mane?
Can I love TED talk videos and Worldstar videos?
Can I love MyFitFoods and Mickey D’s?
Facebook is peculiar. It’s like pulling all your business partners, family, friends, high school classmates, college buddies, work colleagues, and random strangers you meet along the way into one room together. And the struggle is to be one way with all of them.
This has been one of my most difficult shuffles on social media: how to be fully myself, while still recognizing that people I may want to do business with, collaborate with, or network with may be delighted by my sophisticated palate, my articulate speech, or my urbane music tastes, but be offended by my subversive humor, my affinity for many things ratchet, and my predilection for using “Habitual be.”
Sometimes, it be getting to me.
It seems that this easily delves into the age old philosophical question of public vs private self within the newish paradigm of online interconnectedness, and how we deal with these two sides of the same coin. In non-virtual spaces, I have learned to code switch. I have learned office politics and ethics. I know to avoid politics and religion and race conversations. But what happens when you care about those things and care to share them on social media?
One never knows how much a prospective employee hates Liberals or judges a few too many glasses of wine at dinner or who thinks blonde jokes are sexist. Should we censor for every possible scenario? Disconnect? Play social media Stratego with changed names and labyrinthine privacy settings? When will we change the narrative about how private lives affect public work? Because teachers do get WASTED on the weekends. As they should.
I’m not so silly to think that pictures of me slumped over the toilet should be unjudgeable. My question is: If I desire to do business with Friend A, is she gonna base her decision on a fart joke I made to Friend Y? Do fart jokes make me not professional? What about “too soon” jokes? Explicit music lyrics?
I don’t know that I have the answers. Many of them lie in the heads and hands of those who we may never meet. And I don’t know if much can be done about that. What we can affect is how we reflect on our public and private lives, being as honest with ourselves about our mess-ups as we are about our crowning achievements.
And we can keep that in mind as we scan and judge Facebook pages from resumes, as we entertain business opportunities with Facebook friends, and as we deal with people in our everyday life. We need to learn to delineate being full human beings from being careless and possibly understand how respecting others’ humanness affects and bolsters our own.