Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Different Platforms for Different Audiences

I haven't maintained this website for a bit, mainly because I represent my work and personal personas elsewhere, mainly in my company's community platform and my "personal" career-related blog for work and Facebook for personal stuff.

I've been less active on Twitter, likely because it's yet another platform to try to keep up with and I haven't needed to be visible to the broader community. But also I've seen how the Twitter platform and community itself lacks a bit of context, where a few years ago people were losing jobs for things said or taken out of context. I'm sure some of the situations were either justified or the opposite, blown out of proportion. Though I doubt I could have made the same "mistakes", but who knows. It's nice to see how Twitter has contributed to more egalitarian changes such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, but now rather than a wariness of saying something wrong online, I wonder what I can contribute. Maybe I'll try again and save all my witty observations no one wants to hear just for my Twitter feed.

I probably don't have much or anything to worry about really, since my online reach is non-existent outside my technical community and friends. And even then, I've already earned a reputation for being pro-diversity and perhaps "no fun," when it comes to the lack of tolerance I have for inappropriate remarks at work. I've had colleagues say things like, "let's check with Alvin if that's sexist." So yeah, I'm the guy that will ask you to be careful what you say because words matter. 

Anyways, back to the topic of this post. I use different platforms for different audiences and topics. It doesn't go well when I mix them too much. For example one time I'm sure I pissed off family when I posted something on Facebook really meant for my work community. Conversely a personal rant about work on Facebook got back to coworkers but hopefully not to my rantee. Oops. Most recently, I shifted careers and location again, for a move back from abroad in Europe, in the Netherlands specifically, back to the United States. This was long planned from even before our move back in 2015, though it was the best of worse possible timing in the middle of this 2020 pandemic. After mentioning the move too many times across multiple channels, I got I think one personal recommendation on Linked-In.

Luckily, I think most of these moments have been forgotten or will soon be.

So... what do I write about on the website (blog) attached to my actual name? Apparently it's the "meta" contemplation of different platforms for different audiences, which breaks down into:

  • Work-approved posts and "industry expertise" goes on the work community platform
  • More personal observations that I wouldn't want work to own if or when I leave go on my personal work blog.
  • Work-related updates meant for just colleagues goes on the internal work sharing (Yammer)
  • On-topic, ephemeral work related updates or questions go on the work chat (Teams or Skype for Business)
  • Off-topic communication goes on the unofficial work chat (Slack)
  • Personal stuff goes on Facebook
  • More personal stuff goes on Messenger to family
  • And so on...
 Even on a given platform like Facebook or Messenger, I'll use different groups for different circles of friends, family, or colleagues. Oddly Google's foray into social media had such a "circles" feature, probably recognizing the challenge it is with managing so many contexts and people.

However, I think it's really hard to manage so many different groups, especially if each user has their own set of users in a given group and the communication goes both ways. There's something clearer when an online group's membership is transparent and voluntary for all participants.

However, it's probably useful to be able to broadcast (less interactive) messages to groups like "family," "close friends," and "not-as-close people in your network."

Okay, that's enough for this rambling post. I considered writing about this move back from the Netherlands but I'll save that for another post, either here or perhaps one or many of the platforms mentioned above.

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