Look through many actors' Instagram feeds and you'll see plenty of backstage photos where castmates exchange hugs, kisses, and other types of totally acceptable affection in the theater world - and a possible HR nightmare outside of it. We theater types don't think anything of it.
But now since so many victims are coming forward to say how they have been treated inappropriately by titans in the performing arts, it only begs the question - how can you stave off unwanted advances from castmates and coworkers on social media?
[LinkedIn enters and crosses downstage]
The New LinkedIn
First of all, hear me out: LinkedIn has gotten its act together. You may not have looked at it since you uploaded your day job resume a few years back, but it's gaining serious traction. There are over 500 million users on LinkedIn! You can upload video natively, share articles you've written, and connect with many high-level people in the theater world. (For more about LinkedIn's 2018 relevance, check out this article on Buffer's blog, "The Silent Rise of LinkedIn.")
LinkedIn is the best social media platform to show how informed you are about your industry. You're a professional artist thus you have ideas about how to be a professional in the arts. LinkedIn is the perfect place to share them. It's also an opportunity to weigh in on conversations happening in your business' world in a more thoughtful way than, say, Twitter can provide.
Finally, LinkedIn provides a way to nurture professional contacts while also keeping your personal life at a distance.
No Sliding Into the DMs
Ever hear someone "sliding into the DMs" on LinkedIn? No. Because that's not how LinkedIn is used. Why not? Because it's not professional. (Technically you could, they have a messaging part of their app, but it just doesn't happen.)
If someone wants to interact with you on social and you would prefer to keep that relationship professional, ask them to connect on LinkedIn instead of a more personal platform. Rachel Dart, the founder of Let Us Work the Facebook community collecting stories of harassment in the theater, says, it's a way to "politely and clearly send the message that this is a professional interaction." She likens it to graciously declining a hug and a kiss with a handshake.
Protecting Your Personal Life
Savvy freelancers know how important it is to maintain connections, but in the performing arts especially boundaries can get blurry. Brush up your LinkedIn profile and use that as a way to maintain connections that you'd prefer stay professional.