Have you realized that some of your television friends haven’t been as vocal on social media as they normally are? For me the leaders’ debate passed by with me sitting on my hands and trying not to think about the tweets and facebook messages I could have been sending.
Working in television, and in particular on programmes shown during the campaigning period, means that you have to keep your social media presence completely impartial. Which is what I’m trying to do. Hence why I haven’t written anything in a while. Hence why instead of being balanced I’ve been completely silent. It turns out being impartial is something I’m very bad at. You can’t go about throwing your opinions around. If people find out you’ve worked on something you can create a scandal by saying, “Yay for X …” See I can’t even do an example! Not even for fun or ironically.
This makes a lot of sense and I respect this etiquette, I really do. The public deserves fair and balanced programming, especially in news and politics coverage. But can anyone really be totally impartial? Can this work in the modern age? Because most people, and especially those who work on these sorts of programmes, will have an opinion. And I think it’s really important that they do. How would you put a show together or understand different perspectives if you don’t have opinions of your own? It’s from this place that judgments are made. Unless you live in an incubator you’re going to have life experiences and you’re going to care about certain things no matter who you are and no matter what job you do.
The rise of social media over the last 10 years means that we’re now visible as individuals, or at least we can be if we want to be. For someone like me, who often writes political and personal posts anyone can find out how I feel about various things, I often find myself going into job interviews with my potential employer knowing what I’m about. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, but I often think – well at least they know. There are so many people who have to hide their profiles or come offline altogether for fear of not getting a job or being seen as unprofessional. This happens in all industries, our brands are beginning to surpass us. Even though there is no denying looking at someone’s facebook comments can really change the way you view them, we’ve got to understand that this is only a small proportion of that person, much like the side of the person you see at work.
What I want to know is at what point do you become your job? I have a great job, I work closely with decision makers and even though I don’t have the authority to call the shots I’m certainly in a position to influence the way we might do certain things. I’m getting there. When I’m asked where I want my career to go I often say I want to be able to come in to work and completely be myself. Everyday. Unfortunately to achieve this status there has to be something about you that people want to buy or pay you for. Because unless your lucky enough to be rolling in money you’ve got bills to pay. But as I said above I’m getting there.
I can’t talk about the general election or be party political. But then I also need to understand that my online ‘brand’ is only a tiny part of who I am and just because I’m not putting it online doesn’t mean I’ve ceased to care or have an opinion. I respect the need for impartiality and I don’t think its ideal to monitor people’s social media, but for now it’s a good option. The coverage for this election is so important because each of us has a chance not to be impartial on May 7th and our decisions need to come from ourselves not the people making the news. Us, each and each and every one of us, will really make a difference. Leave your brands at home and come to the ballet box with your hearts.
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