father and son

Me and O

It’s been a busy past six weeks – a ton of work projects, a fair amount of traveling and very little personal time. Everyone faces the challenge of the balancing a professional and personal life. It’s become a lot harder now that I’m a father and that I’m still a newbie at work (2 months in), but I’m doing pretty well. The blurriness of work/home life got me thinking though. For a long time, I’ve operated online with the assumption that there is no distinction between me “personally” or “professionally” when it comes to an online persona. I always assume that whatever I place on the web will be seen by friends, family, colleagues and strangers. Not everyone does this, but it has helped me cope with how I want to be perceived, issues of privacy and so on. But for some reason, I’ve started thinking about my use of Twitter and similar issues. I originally used Twitter just so I would understand it. As I understood it, I realized it would be a good opportunity to provide personal updates and share professional projects. Twitter use for me really got going during the launch of ArtBabble. This combo approach for Twitter worked well for me and I noticed my followers increased and represented a healthy balance of friends, museum nerdz, and general tech peeps. Not bad.

I'm a museum nerd

I'm a museum nerd

And then I left the museum field. It’s been a couple of months. All of sudden I seemed a little lost. My followers (and we’re not talking that many) had come to expect tweets that were personal and museum themed. Now they were getting just personal updates. I wasn’t sure how to weave in my new professional focus of auto racing related, digital content. I wasn’t sure what their thoughts were on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the IndyCar Series? And I certainly didn’t want to ostracize anyone.

My approach was to take it slow. I enjoyed tweeting about my personal stuff – soccer, walks with O, The Mighty Boosh, cooking and so on. And then I started easing into some racing related content – nothing too specific, but tweets about traveling, new websites, P-Diddy, and so on.

The Mighty Boosh - Lester Corncrake and Tony Harrison.

And then I noticed new followers emerging. I had sustained my existing fan-base (and I say that with as little arrogance as possible) and started to attract followers with strong interests in auto racing, the IMS and IndyCar. Cool. I’ve been very selective about my racing tweets. I try to select content that will have mass appeal. Our work Twitter accounts, @IndyTalk – IMS & @IndyCarNation – IndyCar, get tremendous fan interaction on almost every tweet – they don’t need little ‘ol me retweeting everything.

My modest presence on Twitter now has a focus on a more personal distribution of content or storytelling. I guess, looking back on the museum community, we were all trying to reach a smaller, niche audience and we wanted to try and reach everyone, no matter what (and I say that with no disrespect…just fact). I’ve been blown away by the level of fan interaction, passion and opinions of our followers in the new job. It’s incredible. So I’m going to keep using Twitter, keep sharing stuff, and hope I find the right balance of appealing to a strangely diverse collection of followers. If you continue, thank you, If you don’t, I completely get it.

So that’s about it. All this talk of me, me, me! What about the people I’ve started following recently. I’ve added tons of people over the past few months. Here are a just a few -

@TheNaptown – we’re talking Chef James Bryant, new owner of The Naptown Restaurant and Wine Bar. He’s very new to Twitter but he’s given me lots of tips when it comes to BBQing. Follow him or better yet, go eat.

@diorabarid1 – actress Diora Baird. Her tweets are unexpected and surreal. I love surreal…even though she was in an episode of Two and a Half Men…oh well.

@LeilaniMunter - race car driver and passionate environmental advocate. Her recent documentation of the oil spill in Louisiana has been eye opening. Learn more about her, here.

@RoyHobbson – writer of The Silent Pagoda. Funny, witty, edgy and has got his finger firmly on the pulse of the local racing community. Even if you despise racing, you’ll enjoy his writing.

That’s it – there are plenty more people I love following. I’ll feature them in a future post. If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading.

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