Is it Ever Time to Hide Your Geekery?

As I noted in my past column on Stereotype-fu, I don't hide being a geek, I use it as a form of personal branding and pitch myself as a kind of "Geek Plus."  This however did not fully address an important issue for progeeks, Otariman-types, and more: is it ever time to hide your geekery professionally.

This is actually a false question, but part of an important one.

The real question is twofold – are there ever things you should keep to yourself professionally and can you do that?

First, the answer to "should you keep things to yourself" IS an unqualified yes.  There's some things that are your own business, no one else's business, and that are private.  There are things no one has any business prying into, and things you should have no issues NOT sharing with others.

Now your geekery may or may not come into this.  That interview with a financial institution may not worry about your collection of remodeled Gundams, but the fanfic you've written may raise some red flags depending on content.  You're going to want to deal with issues of discussing your geeky life styles the same way you'd deal with any other – common sense and a sense of what is truly private.

The second question, can you hide geekery is quite another.  The internet is increasing public, information is out there, and anyone that's been on the net awhile has left quite a trail.  What is private at one time may not be years from now.  That photo of you cosplaying as gender-bent Steampunk Kakashi from Naruto may be hidden now, but could be in an internet meme next year.

In short, the internet is best approached realizing that what you want to be private, from hobbies to past boyfriends, is something you have to work on ahead of time to keep private.  In the end, it may not even matter.

The ultimate answer, to me, is that you have to do the best to manage your image in the age of the internet and social media.  It has to be a concious effort, and you have to be aware of what you're doing and need to do.  But not everyone needs to know everything about you, and you should use your common sense.

– Steven Savage