“I think clearly if I was in media I would have a need to establish a sole identifier for me for that branding for me, so people would say ‘Yeah, I am this guy.’ In my work it just doesn’t matter to me. Maybe if I was in mid-career or earlier, it would be a whole different component, but it’s not one now.”
Steven or Stephen: Steven
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Lives in: New Jersey
Middle name(s): Frank Michael
On Facebook: No
On LinkedIn: Yes
On Twitter: No
Runs a blog or personal site: No
His story: This is one Steve Schmidt who was blessed with a green thumb, as evidenced by his large array of green, lush plants that thrive on the back of his porch of his New Jersey condominium during the warmer months.
He has no desire to grow something with a few clicks of his mouse—such as a few crops on the popular Facebook application game, FarmVille.
“I don’t want to worry about virtual crops,” Steve says. “I much rather deal with the real stuff around me, which again will die if I don’t take care of it, but it’s different. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s dealing with real things. It’s not the virtual world and I have nothing against the virtual world but there are times when maybe work is virtual enough.”
The 60-year-old Schmidt, who works as the administrative director of the orthopaedics department at a university in northern New Jersey, has no interest in entangling himself in the social media craze that has gained a burgeoning audience within his age range.
“I have no desire whatsoever to do that kind of stuff,” Steve says.
His wife, Rona, on the other hand, is an avid virtual farmer through FarmVille. She joined Facebook about a year ago as a way to keep in touch with family members—especially to see photos of the newest additions. Then the various game applications sort of grew on her, one could say.
“It allows me to have my own thing,” Rona says. “He does his fish and I do my farming. No, he has no interest [in Facebook]. I’m the nosy one. I like to find out about things from other people.”
She was referring to her husband’s 120-gallon fish tank that comfortably houses nine small fish. Other pets in their house include their wheaten terrior, Molly, who proved not to be camera shy.
Steve does have a small presence on LinkedIn with four connections. When he first started out his career, he established his identity by being a member of various professional organizations well before the digital age had begun to spread its wings. Given that he has a well-established work identity, he feels no need to better craft any sort of online identity or self-brand. He’s perfectly content in—pun probably not intended—“my fishbowl.”
“One way of looking at it is the environment I’m in is relatively narrow,” Steve says. “It’s either the world of academic medicine or healthcare administration and probably the number of Steve Schmidts in that environment is not that large. I think if I were in a different field or different profession. And I think clearly if I was in media I would have a need to establish a sole identifier for me for that branding for me, so people would say ‘Yeah, I am this guy.’ In my work it just doesn’t matter to me. Maybe if I was in mid-career or earlier, it would be a whole different component, but it’s not one now.”