How to mix the personal & professional?

I sit on the Social Media Panel of the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Committee. And we’re looking for comments on an issue I’ve been thinking a lot about …

If you’re a journalist over 35, an employer likely told you not to post campaign signs on your lawn, attend public rallies or sport bumper stickers. The advice was meant to portray you — and your employer — as independent and without bias.

But online media challenge that perspective. Social media advocates argue that trying to separate one’s personal and professional lives online is a lost cause. Journalist and community engagement advocate Steve Buttry argues: “Most of the Twitter world mixes business with pleasure. Building walls means you won’t understand how Twitter works.”

Others argue that revealing one’s assumptions and values publicly is a badge of integrity. According to media researcher and consultant David Weinberger, “transparency is the new objectivity.”

Can the perception of objectivity be achieved in the age of social media?

  • What guidelines should journalists follow in maintaining personal blogs?
  • Should they care who they friend or follow on Facebook and Twitter?
  • What about joining social media groups or accepting badges for participation?

What do you think?

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