Worlds colliding!

Two Worlds Colliding

My worlds are colliding!

When I had originally set up my twitter account, I had intended for it to be mainly for library related things. In my head, I wanted there to be a separation between my personal life, which I mainly kept on Facebook, and my student/professional life. Even after joining the HackLibSchool team, I didn’t befriend my co-editors right away on Facebook and I just interacted with them mostly on Twitter. Actually, many of my friends, even my classmates in real life don’t even know that I write for a blog, or have my own. Not that it’s a good thing they don’t know these facts about me, it just goes to show how separated I have been trying to keep my life; but now all those divisions are tumbling down.

I’m friending more librarians on my personal Facebook and I’m losing touch with some of my California acquaintances/friends. I spent a good part of yesterday questioning myself about what I thought constituted a friendship or a connection, and which of those are actually valuable to me. My professional and personal are quickly becoming intertwined and at first, that gave me pause. On the other hand, it might be a sign that I am actually transitioning into a profession. Some of the people who give me the most support in my academic endeavors are people that I have never met.

You know what? These connections mean more to me in many ways; but I can’t help but feel like I’m losing part of my past. I haven’t talked to some of my best friends in ages! These are ones who have known me for years, prior to library school, who supported my decisions to pursue this degree. This makes me sad, because I’m finding that the physical distance puts a strain on these friendships, but I also know that they’re not going anywhere. I am also looking forward to getting to know some of my newer friends that I’ve met at conferences, because I have many things in common with them, sometimes even more than people I have known for a long time or in real life. It’s actually refreshing to meet these folks because they make me feel more at home. I think as we move forward in our lives, our interests change and so do our friendships.

I think my issue was that before I had actually met some of my internet library friends in real-life, I thought it would be easy to keep a division between my two worlds. Once I actually got the ALA, relaxed, got over my anxiety of talking to strangers, I found it much easier to approach people. The Pumped Librarian put it best in her post-ALA wrap up, when she said that it’s better not to think of networking as networking, but rather hanging out with cool people in your profession (she says it a lot better, I’m just paraphrasing). Being at ALA basically felt like I was hanging out with my friends, even if technically, what I was doing could be considered networking. After all the awesome meet-ups, I got Facebook requests and also made some requests on my own. As a result, I’ve found that my worlds are crossing over and I’m having a harder time distinguishing professional from personal. Looking back on my initial segregation, I just feel silly about it.

At this point, I have decided that I need to come to terms with a few things in my life. First off, librarianship is now a HUGE part of my life and who I am. It’s not only a professional interest, but a personal passion, so anyone in real life who knows me needs to know this. Second, I’m not going to be anyone that I am not. At first, I didn’t know how to use twitter, I didn’t want to retweet Andrew WK because I was afraid it wasn’t “professional”. Whatever, if you don’t think he’s hilarious, something is wrong with you. Kidding aside,  I do understand the fine line between what’s inapproriate conduct and what’s acceptable. I will say, I find it boring to follow people on twitter who only tweet articles and never interact with other people. Twitter is one of the main reasons why I felt comfortable approaching people and introducing myself to them. It was easier to talk to people at ALA11 because I interact with them on Twitter. I will admit that my online presence has slowly become a better representation of who I am in real life. I know I’m capable of good work and am a pretty nice person, which I think that’s what will really shine through.  No more hiding, no more walls.

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11 thoughts on “Worlds colliding!

  1. Right on. I can’t be all that sure that I had much of a personal life before–new dad, new grad, new husband, new climate (I’m from Michigan!), new professional goals (I was an English major!), financial crunch, lots of freelancing, etc.–but now the bulk of my spare time is oriented around this career – not even my present work where I am the reference librarian in a small town with a staff of twelve and an institution that is only right now virtualizing. But I am oriented around the career I *want* in systems.

    I love chatting with you guys, but I can’t disassociate myself from the dollar signs: I blog at TheGeekLibrary.com (plug!) to network, express agency, accrue authority; I attended the NEFLIN Tech. Conference and presented even at the Graphica In Education Conference specifically to network. I’m obsessed!

    Am I crass!?

    // Michael[-]schofield[.com]

  2. I never liked the word networking. I think it’s sort of a clinical term that basically just means making friends. Some friends will be closer than others, but that’s true of any kind of friend.

  3. I once had a nightmare about my high school, college, and grad school friends all showing up at the same party. In retrospect, this made sense: I felt distinctly different about my identity during each of those short periods of my life, and at each phase I thought I had grown beyond the previous. They’re linked in more ways than is apparent at the time.

  4. Good for you. Spread your little Annie Pho wings and take off. Nobody cares about your social media presence unless your work doesn’t speak for itself or there are other myriad question marks. In that case, it makes sense to be practical on the Twitserv. If you’re impervious, then I say Shazam. You Go, librarian. Cheers.

  5. I’m so happy you had such a good experience at ALA and made lots of friends :-)

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines lately, because I just recently decided to make my twitter public and I want to start using it to join in on the conversations I’ve always just watched quietly. And I’m totally on the same wavelength that librarianship is becoming my life, so it feels kind of natural to be seeking contact with like-minded individuals. I really like how our profession yields so much discussion online. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I do wonder if my college friends who follow me on twitter think I’m boring!

  6. Annie, I went through the exact same process that you outline here, and almost on the same timeline. To tell you the truth, my Facebook stream is SOOOOOOOO much more interesting now that I’ve friended colleagues (who I used to avoid). (Don’t tell my ‘friends’ I said that!) HackLibSchoolers were the first non-friends I made that shift with, and it’s been totally worth it.

    It is strange when you become actively aware that you are a (some kind of) professional. I think that point is the most valuable self-realization of library school, when you can think of yourself as a librarian, despite still having classes and projects and graduation on the horizon. Worlds will collide, but your level-headed, intelligent, witty personality will smooth it all over. Proud to see this transition in you, and to have you as a fellow librarian!

  7. Totally agree with you and others – if librarianship is a passion, then it makes sense for it to spill into all areas of your life. I too have more colleagues (from my network, not necessarily my workplace) whom I think of as friends than I do remaining friends from my school and university days. I certainly have a lot more in common with them and it’s great to be part of such a fantastic profession.

    It was good to meet you at ALA, and I hope to meet you at future conferences! :)

  8. I felt much the same way as well. The whole of my two and a half years in library school have in a lot of ways been a transition away from my life down south. I found the process harder and easier at the same time, if that makes any sense, because I was sort of forced into losing touch withe certain people due to a breakup midway through school – but I love how formative it’s been. I’m really a very different person than I was before I decided to switch tracks and pursue an MLIS, and I think for the better! I’ve met a lot of really great people in my classes – and it’s always interesting to finally meet in person someone you’d only known via an online class, which did happen at ALA but also happened at library advocacy events at the state capitol and other such things.

    And I agree with the distaste for the term “networking”. I like to think of it more as bonding over common interests – after all, we ARE all in the same profession even if our jobs are different. “Networking” to me implies a transactional data exchange, but the whole point of having librarians is that people aren’t machines!

    It was great meeting you finally, and everyone else from HackLibSchool as well. Let’s make things happen and hopefully I will see you again next year! Best of luck!

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