Privacy Please: When Online and Offline Worlds Collide

Difficulties managing your social networking persona with your real-time self?  Are the two the same? An article by Gillian Shaw in today’s Vancouver Sun titled Famous on Facebook profiles two Vancouver social media personalities, Jennifer Lowther and Kris Krug (oh, and they’re also just people), and their views on the increasingly blurred lines between their online and offline personas.

Lowther is a blogger and social media director for 6S communications.  She also happens to be popular amongst social networking communities like Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.  This online following has made her somewhat of a local celebrity, but it’s something she says takes a bit of getting used to.

I have definitely found that my online life is now bleeding into my personal life,” she said. “I get people I have never met, but they follow me on Twitter and they know me, and they expect me to know who they are.

This is also something Kris Krug says he knows all too well:

If I don’t upload a photo on Flickr, or update Twitter for two days, people send out a rescue party…I don’t want my digital life to be the entirety of my identity.

While I feel for anyone being put under a microscope, it seems natural that if you’re business is to sell yourself as a brand of online popularity (and it’s assumed this translates to both offline and online impact), you just have to say, tweet it and play the game.  This is what Vancouver-based social media consultant Megan Cole has to say:

I love that more people and mainstream now understand that these networks can be of great value to increase outreach and awareness, whether it’s for a brand, a company, a community or an individual. Anyone can learn to use and leverage them, which is a good thing.

As with anything, there has to be compromise and balance.  It’ll be interesting to see how this concept evolves and how those caught in it manage to deal.