Personal vs. Business Related Posts. What’s the right balance?

This is a question I have been thinking about recently.  What’s the right balance of personal vs. business related posts?  Slightly on a tangent, but what’s the right social etiquette?  My colleagues have put together this great white paper an IBM executive brief: Social business behavior.  The changing nature of culture, etiquette and personal interaction in the workplace.

Here’s the link:

Jeanne Murray: IBM Software Group Social Software Adoption, BlueIQ Program. Twitter: @jeanne_murray
Jennifer Okimoto: associate partner—IBM Strategy and Transformation Center of Competence, Social Business Lead. Twitter: @jenokimoto
Jacques Pavlenyi: market segment manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions. Twitter: @mediamutt
John Rooney: program lead, Innovation and Collaboration, IBM CIO Software Integration Team. Twitter: @roonoid
Melissa Sader: IBM Executive & Workforce Communications. Twitter: @meezies
Rawn Shah: social business strategist. Twitter: @rawn

When I started this blog, I thought that it will focus on work related topics.  However,
as I continue to blog, I come across topics that inspire me that are not necessarily work related but I would like to share.  I have been using the rule …. how would I feel if my kids/family saw this?  Would I be proud of what I share?

I think that what we bring to work is much more than just knowledge, but also includes our personality, attitudes, and how we connect to our colleagues and friends.  If that gets displayed in the blog and perhaps even helps someone else, I think it’s a good thing.  Deep inside, I think we all worry about being judged or maybe not sharing the right way.  There is a bit of a risk, to sharing things that are a bit personal, or that might affect how people think of you.  I think it’s also how we make others feel when they read the blog.  When you share through your blog, is it all work related?  Do you make others feel like they connect to you and share similar experiences and interests?  How does your audience feel when they finish reading your blog?  How do you behave in the office at the coffee machine / water cooler?  Do you always only share business related conversations, or do you talk about more personal things as well that could benefit your colleagues?  What’s the break down?  (80% Business / 20% other?)  I would value hearing about your thoughts on this!

So here are three rules I will try to follow when balancing Personal vs. Business Related Posts in this Blog:
1) Be Respectful to others.
2) Share quality content (both business and some personal).  Content that you think your family would be proud or interested in seeing.
3) Add Value and be helpful whether it’s on work related topics or things that inspire you or make a difference in your life.

There is much more guidance available through IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines found publicly here ->
How do you approach this?

About Anna Dreyzin

Digital Leader | Enabling Individuals and Companies with Social Business| Education Specialist | Strategy Consultant | Speaker
This entry was posted in collaboration, social-business, social-media. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Personal vs. Business Related Posts. What’s the right balance?

  1. Michael Young says:

    Very interesting topic. I do believe that we should share part of ourselves with our work colleagues and not just business discussions. We spend so much time at work, I believe if we stick to only discussing work, it could actually almost become an isolating experience, where we don’t actually feel connected to those around us. Thanks for the post.

    • Anna Dreyzin says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Michael. I agree I thinks it would be isolating just discussing work and not communicating on any other topics. It’s only a part of what we bring to work.

  2. Tiago says:

    Hi Anna, in my view there’s a concept that is underlying the rules you listed and I think it’s relevant enough to be clearly called out, which is: “be yourself”. You correctly consider it may be risky to say things “that might affect how people think of you” but I think we must be honest, transparent and respectful and say things that shape people’s beliefs on us. The more we share our values and principles, the more people will like to read what we write cause they fell “we’re one of them”. With that I’m not saying we need to share every single personal thought we have but at least the overall princples that guide us in our life…

    • Anna Dreyzin says:

      Tiago good point! When you say be yourself , I think there are many aspects to who we are and many roles we play, be it parent, spouse, professional. I think we are all a bit guarded in which aspect of self we choose to share online. What we share online also has a history and reach that is different from face to face interactions. I do agree though, that online our self should come through. Thanks much for your comment. I very much enjoy the interaction online.

  3. Luis Suarez says:

    Hi Anna, great blog post and rather thought provoking! There is no definite answer on this one, since every single individual would need to figure out for themselves what that measure or balance would be like. Usually, what most folks have settled on is that measure you mentioned above on 80% work and 20% personal. And that seems to be working all right. From my own side of things, I just wish people would loosen up a bit and don’t take themselves far too seriously. It’s just killing us all! No-one out there is a true expert, guru, 100% über-professional on a single subject matter. We need to start coming to terms with knowing and embracing our limitations and live with them to the best of our own ability. That’s what makes us all human beings after all and what gets us to work every day. If you ask folks out the vast majority of knowledge workers don’t go to work every morning because of the company they are working for, or the work they do; it’s for the people they work with. For the human, personal business relationships they have been capable of building over the course of time and, as such, that’s when we need to start loosening ourselves a bit more, because that’s when we would be able to learn the most from one another and trust each other.

    So where is the limit? Well, many years ago I used to tell people that when sharing information online they should go ahead and share everything they would not want their mum to see on national TV, because, at some point, that would happen! I have numerous occasions where it has been the case and it was quite an interesting experience being with your mum on the fun talking about her son being on T.V. for some kind of social networking activity 😉

    Thus the golden rule, once again, is all about mums and what you would want them to know. As usual, the wisest ones ;-))

    • Anna Dreyzin says:

      Love your comments Luis! Thanks for adding your thoughts! I agree putting things that are ok for our moms to see is a great gauge and not taking ourselves too seriously too.

  4. Hi Anna!
    Good post, very relevant topic. I blog under my avatar name (I did a lot of work both personally and for the company in both Second Life and OpenSim). I not only use the “Mom” rule but I use the “child” rule. *grin* My mother tends to be a lot more liberal than my son might be. So I try to think what my child might learn and think from the way in which I express myself. It’s not just a matter of WHAT we are saying, but HOW we say it.

    • Anna Dreyzin says:

      Hi Aimee, great point about what also matters is “how” we say things! I would agree, tone matters too. Thanks for adding your thoughts!

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