What does having a mature and professional dance therapy web presence look like?

photo taken from: mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl

photo taken from: mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl

Clearly it’s been awhile since my last blog post, for which I apologize.  However, I have been brewing on this topic for quite a while- what does having a mature and professional dance/movement therapy web presence look like?  As I listlessly float between graduation and a full-time position as a dance/movement therapist, I’ve had some time on my hands.  If I’m not working at the restaurant, I’m usually reading, taking a dance class, or browsing the internet…  I hesitate to say the latter because I have a hard time admitting to myself how much time I spend on the internet lately.

During one of the many times browsing the internet, specifically BuzzFeed, I came across one of the many lists on the site that was seemingly applicable to me, “Everyday decisions that twentysomethings are really bad at making.”  This list, of course, is applicable to me because I am a twentysomething.  As I read through the list I giggled and shrugged my shoulders, because I actually do listen to podcasts and make time to clean to clean my apartment.  Yet when I read number 18, “Have a profession and mature web presence or drunk-tweet at your boss?” it got me thinking about my personal web presence.

I’ve blogged about web presence and dance/movement therapy before when I blogged for Columbia College Chicago’s Marginalia blog, which features students from each of the school’s graduate programs.  I wrote that as a general commentary on web presence, the American Dance Therapy Association’s website, and dance/movement therapy.   I also wrote it as a student.

As a registered-dance movement therapist (R-DMT) and an emerging professional in the field, I feel as though my web presence is something I need to consider.  Clearly, I think it’s important to have a web presence as a dance/movement therapist as a means to give visibility to our work to the masses who browse the internet.  The reason why number 18 on the BuzzFeed list struck me was because I feel as though I currently have two web personalities.  I initially created this blog as a means to create a professional internet outlet.  I wanted a venue to express my ideas about dance/movement therapy and being a dance/movement therapist in a professional way.  And then of course I have my personal web presence via my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

image taken from: comerecommended.com

image taken from: comerecommended.com

There has been times where these two web personalities have intermingled.  This is most apparent on my twitter account, where I follow the American Dance Therapy Association (@ADTAorg), Lora Wilson Mau (@Dancetherapist), and Alice Garfias (@DanceMovTherapy), and the latter two follow me.  Although I am thrilled that I have made dance/movement therapy connections via Twitter (@Octaband tweeted at me about my job hunt the other day!), it has also made me hyper-aware about how my tweets come across to professional dance/movement therapists.  And unfortunately, my twitter account is not executed in the same way as my blog.  I do not strictly tweet about dance/movement therapy.  Instead I tweet about the book I just finished reading, about being a Detroit Lion’s football fan, or about the new bottle of bourbon I bought.  Obviously these tweets are not professional in the least, but very much true to who I am.  

I guess one solution to this would be to create a new twitter account, one where I strictly tweet about dance/movement therapy; or a Facebook account that I use to strictly network with dance/movement therapists.  This seems like a great idea, besides the fact that I can barely keep track of this stuff now- I can’t even consistently post in my blog!  This intermingle in identities also begs the question about what it means to be a professional in the dance/movement field?  I know there are strict confidentiality rules about the clients we work with, but how strict are these rules when it comes to ourselves?  How much are we allowed to, as professionals, reveal about ourselves via the internet?  Truth be told, I’ve never been one for appearances and formalities, although I respect them.  I guess I’m more of the “this is who I am” type of person who likes to roll up her shirt sleeves and get to work.  And maybe that is why I keep tweeting about whatever it is I want to tweet about whilst assuming some dance/movement therapists are reading.

But really, how does one delegate between personal and professional identities on the internet?  And although I’ve never drunk tweeted my boss as the BuzzFeed list suggests, I do sometimes think I push the boundaries via twitter knowing some influential dance/movement therapists are reading.  So I wonder, how can I have a mature and professional web presence, and an honest one at the same time?  More importantly, is there a conversation happening somewhere about this topic in the dance/movement therapy community?  And if so, where can I find it?

About emilyadannunzio

Board Certified-Dance/Movement Therapist. Movement Analyst (GL-CMA). Researcher. Dancer. Bartender. Detroit, MI.
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2 Responses to What does having a mature and professional dance therapy web presence look like?

  1. Nichelle says:

    You raise some excellent questions, Emily. As you’ve indicated, I think it depends a lot on the platform. I’m on many social platforms, not necessarily as a professional, but as a blogger who’s promoting their web presence, which is slightly different. On Twitter for example, I share things that are both of interest to me personally and of direct interest to my followers who are primarily dance professionals or enthusiasts. The volume of information that travels through the newsfeed allows for a bit more diversity I think. Still, my professional reputation is always considered when deciding whether or not to post something that is particularly sensitive – maybe notably personal, political, opinion-based, etc. On my Facebook profile, I take care to use the privacy settings for those with whom I’d like to maintain a professional distance. Not that I post overly private info to others, but I do post daily activities, pics of my kids which I don’t need to share with anyone I don’t know in person. I maintain a public Facebook page specifically for my website, which may or may not be necessary for a professional in a given field. On this page I stay pretty much on topic – dance training and education – because I feel that’s what people expect from a public page versus their best friends’ profiles. No matter the forum, in general, I don’t post anything I wouldn’t be willing to say loudly, in person to a room of gathered friends, relatives, and strangers. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment, Nichelle. I appreciate your wise words about boundary setting on various media platforms. While reading through your comment another question came to mind (clearly I am full of those)- is professional devoid of personal? Is that in fact what “being professional” means? More to think about I suppose. Thanks again for commenting.

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