I am working with a fantastic company, The Berrison Group, and they talk a lot about the ‘work mask’ and how it can affect us at work. Not sure if you’ve ever experienced this but as an ex manager in a fairly large company I can see where they are coming from.

Sometimes I had to act differently with members of my staff as opposed to members of the board, but essentially, I regarded myself as the same person. Strangely though this was something I was expected to do, be different with the board, maybe that’s because they were tossers?

The only places I can see and where there seems to be a big hoo ha is social channels, I never call them platforms, to me that sends out all the wrong signals for what it’s meant to be, but that’s another story.

Take Facebook, I keep hearing, from so called ‘gurus’, that this channel is for friends, family, having fun and catching up on that none important stuff that’s all sort of soft and fluffy and doesn’t have anything to do with the hard nose of business.

LinkedIn on the other hand is for business and the soft fluffy stuff isn’t for posting, if you do the LinkedIn police get in touch and threaten all sorts of nasty things.

Bullshit…!!

I joined Facebook 2008 and not once has any of my friends come back to me and said “Keith, what’s all this business crap you’re posting? Stop it immediately you sponge”. But post anything other than a pitch for business, a job or anything remotely non-business related and LinkedIn goes nuts. Why?

To me it’s a conversation channel, just like any other, it’s no different from the rest, if you are there to do business, fine, but don’t dress it up as something else.

At the end of the day if you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or the CEO of a major company, business is business and fun is fun, there’s no difference it’s all the same, or is it?

Imagine walking into a business meeting and the person says “Hi Keith how you doing today, how’s the family?” And you say, “Sorry numb nut I’m only here to talk business, don’t ask me how I am or how the journey was to get here or the weather or my family, and FFS don’t ask me about my kittens.” I can just see how that meetings going to turn out.

We are all human, well most of us, and we love the interaction, we love telling stories and we love to chat, or at least I do and the people I work with do to, or I wouldn’t work with them.

We still have to do business admittedly, but you wouldn’t shove your tongue down someone’s throat on the first date would you? So why would you go anywhere just to talk business, unless you’re a dull shit.

The same gurus are now telling us that we have to do business like humans and that people, you lot, don’t want to interact with a faceless machine that only talks in riddles, have you ever had a PPI call…WTF is that all about?

Hello, we have been doing that long before social channels appeared.

We are now h2h and not b2b or b2c we are all in the shit together so be honest, transparent and true to your word. Great advice but why separate everyone and everything into categories, maybe that’s how some like it, it’s easy to manage that way, like having kittens in a box, once you let them out all hell breaks loose. Don’t know why I keep mentioning kittens, I hate cats, I love dogs…

I remember reading a business self-help book years ago and the person who wrote the thing said that he had his morning routine, (so far so good so do I), and that first thing after rising he had his shower, (still all good), and that the last thing he did was put on his ‘power suit’ and he was ready to face anything…WTF!!! Is this superman, has he got x-ray eyes? Come on…self-help, more like self-harm.

As far as I know people have always done business with people. You meet someone and if you like them then you decide if you can work together and you take it from there, the rest comes naturally.

So why should we separate and categorise social channels? Why should we be expected to act differently on one channel than another? I don’t know about you but I like to think I don’t wear a mask, unless it’s Friday night, but that’s another story, I like to think I am the same person wherever I go and that’s why people like me and want to work with me.

The work mask is a fascinating concept and if the guys over at Berrison are reading this maybe they will explain in a less confusing way than I am attempting.

What’s your take on all of this do you think that social channels should be categorised and used purely for pleasure and business?

Do you wear a ‘mask’ to work?

Wow…this could be a real can of worms…

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