Firing Of Octavia Nasr: What Does That Mean For Social Media & Work Life Balance?

Allison Kade
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Where Does Your Work Persona End?

On Wednesday, CNN fired Octavia Nasr, its senior Middle East editor, because of a controversial tweet posted to her personal Twitter account. The lesson from this is easy and obvious: Remember to separate your personal and professional lives, use discretion on social networking sites, and everything else we’ve ever told you in the LearnVest Living Workplace section.

Here’s what I think is really interesting:

We Live At A Time When It’s Not Always A CHOICE TO Separate Personal From Professional

My perspective is colored by the fact that I am an editor at an internet startup, which is almost a double incentive to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. If, like me, you work in media, you’re certainly aware of the importance of social networking for your job, rather than simply for your friendship circle. The media world is increasingly about live-tweeting, sharing news virally, and more. If you work at a newspaper or—to an even greater extent—a blog, you often don’t have much choice about jumping on the social media bandwagon.

We Want You To Retweet Our Content, And Not From A Dummy Account

At LearnVest, our most powerful asset is word of mouth (hint, hint, readers like you!). In all seriousness, we gain more traction every time a user retweets our content. But, that retweet makes a much smaller difference if it comes from my mom, who is liable to create a Twitter account in order to retweet no one but me. The value of social networking comes from the network, meaning that a computer auto-tweeting for us is NOT a big win.

I Can Contribute The Most To My Company By Tweeting As Me—But Where Does It End?

If all I did was retweet LearnVest topics, you’d quickly get bored of reading my stuff and I’d have no followers. As a result, it’s actually valuable for the people who retweet you to be REAL people who talk about something other than the company. That means that Octavia Nasr was actually helping CNN when she tweeted something personal like: “My first outside of the US in 20 years!! I miss you, I love you and wish you safe celebrations!!” The going only got tough when she said something controversial that created an uproar.

So, This Means I’m Supposed To Get Personal—Just Not Too Personal?

Pretty much. It’s a rather jaded approach to say that you should open up enough to make people feel like they know you, without divulging anything too controversial or jeopardizing. Although this may feel like a shallow approach to letting people into your life, the hard truth of the matter is that it’s no longer good enough to walk the work/life balance by simply declining to have a Facebook or Twitter account. They’ve become modern necessities.

The pragmatic approach is to master the art of being genuine and real with your followers…just not too real.

What do you think; am I too jaded? Do you disagree with me? Comment below!

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