Feeling Overexposed

Journal 2 PIDP 3240 Feeling Overexposed

Managing Personal vs professional


How Do You Separate a Personal Brand from a Professional One_ _ John Rampton

cyber mentoring


This journal will focus on the topic of feeling over-exposed due to my choice to develop an online community of learners and to develop a resource blog for assignments 3 and 4 in this course.

As previously mentioned I am an instructor with the BScN program at VCC College, I mostly instruct in the clinical setting; I am aware of the need for students and myself communicate with one another and to easily access electronic information. I however have always approached my professional life as separate from my social life, family life, student life etc; some may call this ‘compartmentalizing’ which is defined by Cambridge Dictionary Online as “to separate something into parts and to not allow those parts to mix together” (2015).

Since beginning to work on assignment 3 and 4 I have been experiencing some anxiety around keeping my professional and personal lives separate. The internet is a big place yet somehow my computer cache/cookies, search engines, cloud storage and whatnot seem to be able to connect my compartments even though I have made every effort to use separate e-mail accounts etc. This has created some issues for me as I begin to try and develop a separate professional on-line identity while linking all of the parts together, ie: twitter to face-book to my blog to LinkedIn to You-tube etc.


Even in my personal life I have chosen not connect through all of the possible venues mostly relying on e-mail, face-book and that’s about it. I did attempt to previously create a Linked-In account but found that it was difficult to manage who could see all of my personal and work related information so I quickly deleted that account; I believe that you can control this a bit better now with the current Linked-In accounts but I have not yet fully investigated this and so I have not fully developed my Linked-In profile.

Since developing these new accounts I have had to delete and block personal friends and indicate to them that these accounts are for professional use and part of a school project; so far most have understood but it has still left me feeling incredibly exposed. Perhaps I am a bit paranoid but I have had some experiences in my professional life that have made me very aware that people can and will use things from your personal life in a manner that can make work feel uncomfortable, even hostile. Perhaps I am just too private a person? Or perhaps I think I am much more important to others than I am in actuality? But I can say this, there are some things that I do not necessarily want to share with my colleagues, peers and most definitely not my students.

It makes me very nervous to see that my professional face-book account indicates my personal face-book account as a possible friendship link and vice versa. It also makes me nervous to see that my current manager has already gone and reviewed my Linked-In account which is pretty bare bones at the moment. Needless to say the last couple of weeks in this course have been spent opening these new accounts and attempting to keep everything separate (meaning personal from professional) yet linked (meaning professional to professional and personal to personal) rather than on actually building the sites to serve as a resource for the community of learners. This has been a bit of a headache for me and a realization that even though I have worked to keep my cyber footprint small it is still there and somehow linked to all that I do on-line.


Bowen in his book titled ‘Teaching Naked” states that students need to feel connected to their instructors and that this includes having an instructor who understands and uses technology to the fullest, he states that if an instructor is not capable of using the current modes of communication that they may appear inept and even ‘un-cool’ to their students (2012). Bowen further states that one needs to keep their personal life separate from their professional life, which includes not using professional accounts to describe or discuss personal activities/life (2012).

Bowen provides us with this advice but doesn’t speak to how one might accomplish this separation. It is my thought that if one was completely cyber naive that they could start from scratch and keep things separate and in order. However someone like me who has had a cyber presence since 1995 and was not aware of how large and nebulous the internet would grow to become or aware of how linked we are to our cyber pasts maybe hasn’t take the right measures to maintain privacy or police what information about them is available on the internet. Had I known then what I know now I would have approached many things regarding my cyber footprint differently.

So now the problem sits, how do I ensure that my private and personal information is kept separate from my professional online persona?


To this end I have searched on-line for advice and steps that I might take in order to keep my personal life separate from my professional life. There are many blogs and articles that are dedicated to this issue which has provided me with some sense of relief that I am not the only person who is struggling with this issue. Some of the articles provide similar advice to Bowen, for instance Rampton in his article states that there needs to be a definite separation of the two identities even to the point of not having friends that you work with on your professional accounts (2014).

Holland states in ‘Nursing: Decision making for practice’ in the chapter dedicated to professional values and decision making, that Nurses are held to a different standard as they are providing care to people at their most vulnerable; Holland indicates that when using social media one must always be aware that they are in the public eye and that what they have posted can and may be used against them if there is concern for public safety (2013). Holland encourages Nurses to keep their personal lives and professional lives separate even going so far as to encourage Nurses to use different on-line modes of communication for each ie: face-book for social and Linked-In for strictly professional (2013). Holland provides 15 different tips on how to maintain the separation between personal and professional including not drinking and posting on social media, not posting disparaging comments on social media about patients, friends, colleagues, managers or employers, etc. They also warn that professional licensing bodies may access even personal on-line accounts when a complaint is filed about a licensed member (2013).

The information that I have found is quite helpful and provides useful advice on how to maintain separate personal and professional on-line identities but I feel that they are mostly useful for those that may not have an already existing on-line persona. That being said I will be taking some of the advice provided to use in my attempts to separate my personal and professional accounts on-line. This experience has very much made me think about what is out there in cyberspace and how it links to me, that being said I will be spending more time filtering through my existing accounts and working to omit any questionable posts or links to my new professional accounts. I will be thinking carefully and choosing wisely what and whom I will include in this new endeavor to create and on-line learning community and resource. I realize that I really have very little to hide as I feel that I live quite an authentic life but I am starting to see that I am truly a private person who does not wish to share all the details of my life with everyone.


Bowen, J. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.

Compartmentalize Meaning in Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2015.

Holland, K. (2013). Nursing: Decision making skills for practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rampton, J. (n.d.). How Do You Separate a Personal Brand from a Professional One? Retrieved August 16, 2015.


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