Pickett, who works as the associate Director of the SUNY Learning Network and is a pioneer in instructional design for on-line learning systems, posts status updates from her Twitter account that totally befuddle me. Like this one: “Alexandra M. Pickett handout & slides from my recent NERCOMP presentation r posted http://www.slideshare.net/alexandrapickett & http://tinyurl.com/ct2pmg #nc09” or this one: “@wefollow #elearning #colombia #edupunk”, which is just totally different than the links to, say, water colors of president’s mistresses or photos of hand-knit socks that my less techie friends tend to share.
But I noticed that Pickett, unlike Robinson, also posts some personal info. When I asked her why, she said, “In the beginning I used Facebook exclusively professionally, to talk to and keep in touch with my professional community and to share with them what I do. It was all for professional networking, collaboration, and as part of my own personal learning environment – keeping up with who and what is going on in my field.”
Pickett resisted going personal for almost two years. But then a friend from college friended her. And that friend put up photos. And other college friends joined in. And, as Pickett puts it, “Pandora’s Box opened.”
Perhaps the greatest turning point for Pickett was doing the 25 Random Things About Me list – a Facebook phenomenon in which users come up with 25 things they suspect no one knows about them. “I LOVED doing the 25 Random Things About Me list,” Pickett says. “ I worked very hard on that list… my master list was over 60 items. some of them were very inappropriate : ) and so I filtered consciously… Interestingly enough, I did not notice till after I posted that none of my things have to do with [my work}. Weird right?! I love it.”
Pickett says she’s still very conscious of protecting her professional persona. “I am very well known in the national online education community and I am adjunct faculty at SUNY Albany…I monitor everything to be sure anything remotely inappropriate does not creep in.”
But she also says she’s happy to be letting her page take a more personal direction. “I am a multidimensional being and I want my online persona to reflect that – that I am real,” she says. “I can’t compartmentalize myself to think I have to maintain (separate public and private) Facebook pages. The truth is we’re multi-dimensional beings and how we choose to present ourselves digitally, our digital personae, that has presence. I don’t want it to be one-dimensional. That’s not who I am.”