On many occasions here on this blog I’ve discussed my views on how I use Twitter in both my private and professional lives, how I see those lines blur and how I choose to live life in the light and not in the shadows. So why am I so very troubled about this latest question regarding my social media presence?
Our social media presence leaves a footprint which lasts long after we’ve walked away. We tell young people and new graduates to be careful about what they put out into the social media space. We warn them that their crazy antics or personal displays can potentially damage them in their careers in the future. We counsel them in the ways of walking a moderate path for fear of offending.
I’m at a point in my life, personally and professionally, where I feel that I don’t want to be moderate anymore. I am confident in my professional abilities to do my job and I’m fortunate enough to work with people who value the fact that I am not bland or moderate in any way. I have a life outside of the library and it can be exciting! I bring my personality to work and that is part of who I am. I love it and there are those who love me for it and I pay little heed to those who don’t.
Despite the demonising of those with religious views, pardon the pun, I’ve shared my thoughts on faith. I make no secret of my belief in God and my adherence to the Roman Catholic doctrine. I publicly outed myself as a Catholic at NLS5 in Perth, even though there was probably no need to. I felt happier knowing that everyone knew where I was coming from. It sparked discussion and I was happy to be openly religious in a secular space. In so doing, I have had messages of support and solidarity from others who don’t always wear their hearts on their sleeves as I do.
In person, I share very deep and very personal aspects of my life in conversation. In person, there’s very little that is off-limits for discussion. If you ask me a question, I’ll give you a very direct answer.
I try to be exactly the same in the socially networked world. I abhor hypocrisy. I’d hate to have that charge levelled at me. So why am I hesitating now?
There’s one last bastion for me.
In person and on Facebook, I have made no secret of my political views. In these spaces I have some control over who hears me. I have chosen to have an open Twitter account and anyone can see the rubbish or the genius I post (probably more rubbish than genius but I’d like to think I have my moments!). So, on Twitter, I’ve tried to keep my politics to myself. I’m not overly secretive but I’m more likely to be vague or shield my real views in a cloud of ambiguity.
What are the repercussions of stating my political views in an open forum? Do I run the risk of jeopardising my job security?
My father was a member of a political party in the latter part of his life. I remember discussing with him the idea of joining the young people’s branch of that party when I was much younger. He, like me, wore his heart on his sleeve and never backed down from an ideological debate and often sought them out…just like me. So it came as somewhat of a surprise for me to hear him say that having membership of a political party could have career repercussions. End of discussion. I never joined the party.
I think this discussion still rings in my ears when I think of sharing my political leanings online. My father was a very wise man and there are times when I really miss his counsel. I wonder what he would make of the world of social media – the immediacy and profusion of publication and the utter, utter lack of quality control.
For now, I choose to remain behind my chiffon veil of ambiguity. The veil is so very sheer and it doesn’t take much to really see the truth of my leanings but I’ll not be so overt as to state them. I wish I felt as comfortable yelling about my politics as I do about my religion. Come the day.