The line between work and personal life in an online world

The White Rabbit Press Kanji posterThe more involved I get with my work over at White Rabbit Press, the more I find myself wondering where the line should be drawn between my online-work and my (non-work) online-life. Being responsible for marketing means that of course, I’m doing a lot online for the company. My goal is to spread the word about our products in order that we can further increase sales, and therefore invest even more in new / even better products that our customers are asking for / that we feel are a good idea.

The thing is, I’m finding myself feeling increasingly passionate about what we produce, as the feedback from left right and centre is virtually always extremely positive (I think this is due to a) the fact that so much effort went into making sure that the products were better than all the competition) b) the governing attitude towards customer service within the company). I don’t feel that reluctance to spread the word about my company’s goods / services that I have done in the past, when paid to promote something I didn’t entirely believe in.

I’ve been looking around (online) for examples of others in my situation that I might follow, and see that:

1) The vast majority of people don’t talk about their work at all. If I look through my Twitter friends list, I only know the occupations of a very small minority.

2) There are notable exceptions to this rule, where people have actually taken their company brand and made it a part of their personal brand. There’s a few people on my list working for a certain well-known digital business card company. Their online avatars contain their company logo, they often tweet about their products / company events, and when I meet them they (jokingly) tell me off for not having my digital business card with them.

Now I happen to like and respect these people a lot. I don’t feel in the slightest that they have sold themselves. I admire the marketing work that they are doing, and I don’t feel pressured in any way by them. I applaud their efforts and hope that they carry on as they have been doing (if that’s working for them, which I believe it is because there’s little chance I’ll ever forget about their product!)

Why is this, when usually I might feel antagonistic towards such marketing campaigns?

I think primarily it’s because I know these people in real life, and I know that they are amongst the kindest, most helpful, interesting people I know in Tokyo. I trust that they are good people. therefore I accept what they are doing without hesitation.

So what do I do? Well, I think it would be difficult for me to seperate my online work life and online non-work life entirely, as there is so much cross-over in real life. My employer is also my friend, his friends are my friends, we’re members of this pretty well connected gaijin community.

The company I work for sells materials to help you learn Japanese – many of my friends have an interest in learning Japanese, many already know of White Rabbit Press, many of them already own some of the products!

I think that ultimately, if my motives are good, if I remain true to myself and don’t put myself in situations whereby I feel obliged to sacrifice personal values for the sake of gain, then I can happily operate in both spheres simultaneously.

I think it’ll take a little getting used to and I’ll probably make some slips upon the way, but provided I remain a fundamentally ‘good’ person, everyone should benefit.

Joseph

p.s. I made a new Facebook page tonight for White Rabbit Press – want to help me in my efforts by joining it?!!!

1 week until a change of occupation

Frog in a BottleHowdy punks.

I headed on down to the Make: Tokyo Meeting 04 yesterday, held at Tokyo Institute of Technology. It’s a kind of interactive DIY tech fare. I shot a short video (embedded below) – and wrote a little more about it (with links) over at www.japantechshow.com. The frog above was one of a collection that seemed immensely popular with other visitors. Quite why you’d want a frog’s corpse on your mantlepiece I don’t know.

So, as per my previous post, we’re in the midst of change here. I have 5 days left with my current employer, much of which will be spent training those who are going to take over my job, making video tutorials and text guides to what I’ve been doing.

I’m very much looking forward to changing my daily routine, and joining White Rabbit Press. I still can’t quite get over just how well it all seems to be working out.

It will be good to have meaning restored to what I devote a third of my weekday hours to. Whilst the lack of meaning in recent months hasn’t exactly led me to depression, it has left me feeling considerably frustrated and unfulfilled. I need a challenge, and whilst my previous job was challenging, the challenges were not the sort of thing that led to greater skill acquisition etc!

Speaking of challenges, Tom and I ran our first 19km Tokyo Marathon training run yesterday. It wasn’t too bad, although Granny’s hip syndrome did kick in at the end. Today I’m in a bit of pain, but nothing too bad.

We have about 12 weeks to go.

Life with *Twinkle* is wonderful. I feel so fortunate.

Anyways, I have a couple of podcasts I’d like to finish off today, so I’ll leave it here for now.

Here’s that video from Make fair.

Joseph