Jun
2010

Link-in or out?

I am not exactly the Brian Williams of TV news, but I do have a small reputation to consider.  I have this thought anytime I am reminded of something stupid I did in high school, and I did a lot of stupid things. It’s not what you’re thinking. I did things like dress up as “The Lord of The Dance” and took to my schools stage for a mock performance. I thought it would be funny. It was, especially the part of falling flat on my backside after an over the top high kick. I got carried away. The audience loved it. My dad recently bumped into my principal who still remembers it.

When prompted to join Linkedin, I think of all the silly things I have done in my life. It’s bad enough that everyone on Facebook can reflect on these things for me. That reason is why I do not “friend” viewers. If I was a more public figure, I would created a “public” page and direct the traffic of viewers there.

I have a lot of co-workers who “friend” all the viewers. One even had her house broken into. She made no distinction between what was public and what was private. She lived in a small town in Maine, and allowed anyone to follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin. She was also really into Tweeting about everything she was doing all the time.

One day she Tweeted and “Facebooked,” she was stuck in court all day following a big trial. A guy who followed her, and lived a few blocks over, broke into her house. He had all day to steal her stuff.

She was terrified, and pulled back from social media for a while. When she returned, she made a line in the sand between what was private and public.

The underlying fear keeps me on my toes. As does the fear of public humiliation, back in high school I directed my schools “Senior Follies” show. It’s an annual variety/stage show seniors put on. I did a lip-sync to “She’s A Lady” from Sir Tom Jones (who I adore). The performance was complete with my own unique choreography and back up dancers.  All of “Senor Follies” was video taped. There are only two copies, and I only have one of them.

Last year was my ten-year reunion. The organizer planned everything via Facebook. To get everyone in the mood she posted her copy of “Senior Follies” on YouTube and tagged everyone on the video.

I was terrified. I am friends with all my co-workers on Facebook, the last thing I needed was for one of them to catch this and some of the other absurd things I did for the show. I was scared to loose what limited credibility I had. I was comforted by the idea of not “friending” any viewers.

The video was removed a week later. It had Tom Jones music, and no one had Sir Tom’s permission to use it.

As I sat starring at the info Linkedin asked from me (Twitter, Blog, ect.) I realized, I don’t want to share with my co-workers. I do not post my blog or Twitter on my Facebook either. I want to keep some freedom (however small) to voice my opinion. If they want to find me they can, but I am not going to give them the pointers.

If I am a journalist or not is debatable, but having too strong of an opinion is dangerous in the news business. Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh are entertainment, not journalism. If I report on a story, it needs to be balanced. Last week I blogged about the lack of spell check from the candidates running for Governor, I can talk about that, but not who I think should be the next Governor.

My newsroom questions the blog everyday. We have a blog for our show, but the anchors are cautious in what they post. Blogging and journalism are not exactly the same thing.

I realize how public my blog could be, but I write for me and I am comfortable with keeping a filter on what I say. If I ever decided to kick off the filter, it will be my decision to make, and one well thought out, unlike my high school performances.