Thursday, August 13, 2009

On social media and personal websites

One of the interesting things I have noticed these days is a lot of software developers in my generation (early Gen Y, late Gen X) have their own websites and spend as much time publicly marketing themselves as the companies and products they work on. In these positions, these people often blur the lines of their professional and personal lives.

When I joined twitter, I debated heavily whether twitter would be personal or professional for me. I had been trying to take a hard(er) line on Facebook and LinkedIn, much like my colleague Billy Newport stated here, where Facebook is for friends and family and LinkedIn is for professional contacts. I got enough Facebook invites from colleagues eventually that I made the rule that I would accept those who I would seek out to have a beer with if in town. I thought that was a good qualification...but I realized that this line was getting hard to maintain. And that is about the time I was joining twitter.

Well, when I joined twitter I decided this would be my first experimentation at having one point of contact that was both personal and professional. So far, I have no idea how it is working. Most of the people that I regularly communicate with on twitter are those that I would also gladly be Facebook friends with and some of them I am Facebook friends with. If I had to declare what is happening one way or another I would declare that twitter is more personal and less professional for me because it is personal at all. I think once I let my personal life bleed into it, it was mostly personal. But, I still have regular professional postings and there is a chance that my microblogs on twitter have some professional followers.

I come back to the original reason I began this blog post. Do I need a website? In this new day and age, is it more important for me to market myself? Years ago it wasn't needed because of corporate loyalty. These days it seems more common and in my age group corporate loyalty is not the norm. I don't know if I have a public enough presence to switch companies in a heartbeat or to be recruited by the top software engineering firms on a regular basis...but I am also not sure that is what I want. For now, this is something I heavily debate and try to make a decision on.

And, since I blurred the lines with this post on my personal blog...I thought I would also show off the cool stuff I have been designing as part of my product. Here is a recent video (only 1 min long) I made to show off the user experience we created with the function I designed:

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