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