OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: When Does Blogging the Personal on Your Professional Blog Hurt?

BlogHer Original Post

Job Lab: Authenticity or TMI?

Shireen Mitchell @digitalsista
Stephanie Bergman @StephanieBamBam
Sarah Granger @sarahgranger
Jessica Lee @jessicalee

Shireen: Introduces the panel, invites people to respond, ask questions on Twitter.

Jessica Lee: I’m a recruiter/HR person, but coincidentally, I also blog.

Stephanie – Blogging personally since 1996. Professionally working for, help small businesses online.

Sarah - Professional me is a new media strategists. Started blogging on the personal side when I was on bedrest during my pregnancy.

Shireen – DigitalSisters. Politics, especially for women of color. My personal brand and my professional brand are actually the same. I don’t know how to personally separate those things.

Shireern: My first question ladies, is authenticity or TMI?

Jessica: It depends on the industry you are in, and the position you are in and the position you are seeking. I google everyone before I talk to them. I also need to know that you’re not to much out there. Because of the industry I’m in, we’re a little bit more.

Audience member: Are there any pure red flags?

Jessica: If I see that you blog and your grammar is horrible, then that would be a red flag.

Stephanie: I have a question – all these people keep tweeting, “I Just went on a job interview.”

Jessica: If you worked for my company, I would be concerned about your judgment. If I saw that your resume was out there and you were trying to get noticed, I would have a conversation with you.

Stepohanie: I got my start on the Internet – hosted a show for women playing video games. Another site had a contest asking women to pose with Quakebox. We came in second. Flash forward about 6 years, and I move to Yahoo and the first thing he says to me is “Quakebox?” It resurfaces, you can’t ever get this stuff to go away. I’m lucky that people seem

Sarah – I would love to live in a world where authenticity really meant more, but when you’re looking for a job, it good to be cautious. Some people can get away with talking about their vagina on Twitter, and that’s fine – that’s part of their brand, but I wouldn’t advise that of most young job seekers.

Shireen – I know that in the Obama Administration, there are people who did not get jobs because of things they put on Facebook. In terms of that, what are the limits and challenges.

Jessica: The thing that I tell folks, if you feel straongly about putting yourself out there in that way, there are organizations that will accept that. Having a sense of what’s important to you is important to do.

Stephanie – I used to blog very openly about everything, my medical issues, my boss, my coworkers. I put up stuff that never should have been on the Internet. I took all of that down. Now I blog much safer. I’m impressed and amazed by women who are able to be open and make comments like that.

Annie from PhD in parenting: Wondering if any of you have thought about taking on different identities?

Sarah: When I first started mom blogging, I started pseudo-anonymously talking about my experience with preterm labor. I finally started my own blog where I just use Sarah. It’s called Pain in the Mom. If a potential client wants to look me up, they can’t find this and think, “oh, well, she can’t work.” It’s not that I’m hiding, it’s just not want I want them to find first. I also created separate Twitter feeds. There are certainly little things you can control in terms of SEO and who finds what. It’s something you can do.

Shireen – I know a woman who ran for office, and she kept her personal Twitter feed private. Whether or not the personal brand and professional brand should be joined.

Jessica: On behalf of your company, if you are blogging or tweeting as an individual, you get more credibility, but I also think you build a following, you build a readership, so what happens if you leave that position? It’s important to know where your company stands on that issue.

Stephani: I used to work for MySpace, and Tom was there – he was everybody’s friend. And when I started one of the first things we had to figure out to do was get rid of Tomm. I think most companies learned from our mistake and will never brand based on a person again. Yola company blog, we use first names. We have delineated it.

Lucretia (audience): One issue I’ve had is friends of mine who don’t respect what I don’t put online. How do you address people who talk about you who may disclose things about you?

Sarah: Usually I would just DM them. You can ask them to remove it. Or if it’s a comment on your blog, you can edit it.

Jessica: In the situation of that person not being your friend. You’re alternative is mask it by getting more relevant or better content out there that pushes it down.

Jessica: Personal attacks, I feel you have to respond to, more than personal comments. Like negative comments on a blog, I don’t believe in deleting them I believe in responding to them and starting the conversation.

Audience member: The interviewer can’t ask you is you have childcare. They can’t ask you about your health. What kind of things are the key things that people should not put out there from an HR perspective.

Jessica: There aren’t black and white answers. For young folks, you just have to help them understand they are a brand, people are going to look you up. It’s tough for me – I work in an industry where we’re trying to promote brands.

Stephanie – From an employer’s perspective, I look on Google and LinkedIn, and if I don’t find something that’s disconcerting. It’s a lot easier to catch people in lies.

Sarah: As someone who got online at age 14, what I advise people who are younger to do in terms of social media strategy – everything you put out there, even if you delete it, can be found. With Facebook – of it’s something you would mind seeing in the NY Times, don’t write it.

Stephanie: Make up your mind that you know what you want people to find when they look you up on Google. Don’t leave it to chance. Last month, the top site for me was another web site and I had to do some meta tag work to change it.

Carmen: The conversation feels like it’s coming from a place of fear – I’d like to hear about a time you felt more authentic, when you decided to be bold.

Sarah: As a political blogger, I have platforms that most people do not have. One of the things I’ve learned through political work is that political stories, they matter. When you do it right, people hear what you say and the discussion is elevated.

Stephanie – Most of my examples of sharing were from years ago. Unfortunately, about as personal as I get on my blog is talking about my cats.

Jessica: I started blogging about HR, and there’s actually an audience for that. They come into the conversation for an interview with more of a perspective on how Jessica thinks as a recruiter. It changes the perception of me, and makes us appear to be a little more progressive.

Shireen: From my perspective. I got a lot of requests to show up and speak, to show up and do work for people who are trying to reach diverse groups.

Audience member: I work with a lot of brands, I’m in PR, but I’ve been the face of many brands online. Do you think it tarnishes my authenticity, representing different brands?

Jessica: From the perspective of my company – what I would personally like is that you’re versatile, I would look more closely to see if these brands were in conflict with one another. I wouldn’t gather that a consumer would pay that much attention to it.

Stephanie: I think it depends. Tom from MySpace will never represent another company.

Sarah: I would ask yourself is it representative of you?

Carrie: Is it too risky going into a job interview armed with information you’ve found online?

Jessica: When it comes to job seekers, it shows that you did do your homework. Especially in the comm. Space, it’s important that you know how to use these tools.

Stephanie: I don’t mind if somebody knows where I’ve worked before, but if they bring up Twitter and say “oh, you have chicken today,” I don’t like it.

Sarah: It’s just not Twitter, it’s other things, it’s email. You have to leave all of the discourse at a certain level.

Audience member: How do you start changing your voice to maybe be more open?

Sarah: Put it out there in one post and see how you feel about it. Academia has been having more problems, especially with Facebook.

Heather: I just Googled myself. I built my whole brand around my last name. My day job is as a publicist for a startup solar company. I discovered that the day I put out a press release with my name, I get hits on my personal blog. I started a habit of putting out “I love puppies” on the day I put out the press release. I also avoid self-promotion.

Stephanie: I blog at Stephanie BamBam because it’s my personal blog and I don’t want it to come up first.

Denise: I have a lifestyle blog and I’m also a freelance writer – in a story I put a link that said “she also blogs at…” If you are your brand, what do you do?

Jessica: You don’t want for them to link back to your blog?

Sarah: I created a separate blog, put the articles on my professional blog and others on my personal. You can it more anonymous.

Shireen: I am my brand, so when I look at that, me being authentic is being who I am. Usually people meet me in person and say “you are that person I see on Twitter.” People are looking for me to be somebody else. Everything you see me say is what I would say to you if I was speaking to you in person.

Liz Rizzo, I think to choose a time to say anything is smart. I decided early on which risks I was willing to take.

Audience member: I’m thinking that the problem is Facebook, not blogs.

Stephanie: Facebook, if you are very very careful, you can untag yourself in pictures, you can ask your friends to take it down. I had a friend who was uploading porn pictures and tagging them with friends’ faces. You can untag, if you don’t ignore these things, there are ways to lock them down.

Shireen: I function very differently on Facebook than I do on Twitter. It’s that kind of control you have to take of your brand.

Sarah: It goes back to the topic of marketing and audience. Audience is different on Twitter than Facebook.

Jessica: I’ll follow anyone on Twitter. On Facebook, I have to have met you in person. I I have you on Foursquare, I’ll have had you at my house.

Shireen: I only use Foursquare when I’m out at things like this so that people know where to find me. You will never see my home, you will never see where I eat dinner.

Heidi, One thing I kind of learned in college was not to put anything online that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. DO you think a lot of workers are learning that lesson earlier, or are they learning it the hard way?

Jessica: They’re starting to become more savvy. Again, I think it depends on the industry you are in.

Shireen: I’ve seen people use social media to get jobs. I’ve seen turnarounds in careers. They use social media because they want to do a career change.

Audience member: It’s true that job seekers should be aware of what’s out there, but it’s also true employers have a responsibility not to use that information inappropriately.