Social Networks & the Rookie, Part the Second: Personal or Professional?

Now that I blog and tweet, I’ve been honing my strategy for using social networking tools. The more I do this, the more I know I’m right to keep a little healthy separation between my personal and professional social networks.

The Great Divide: Public vs. Private

If you socialize with someone or have a relationship outside of work that doesn’t negatively affect your job, that’s one thing. But Facebook or MySpace can get too personal and too private.  While you may not cross the line, some of your friends may and others could see that.

What price fame for the sake of being social?

This story about quasi-famous clever tweeter made me wonder if I could get away with that, or would I want to try. For every one of these social media rock star stories, there is a cautionary tale about bad twits, dumb Facebook posts, or social mismanagement and how it has damaged a professional reputation or job application.

What works for me:
  1. There is a difference in Personal and Personable, Internet friends and Real friends.
  2. There is a place for style and personality in business.  No one wants to deal with a robot or automaton, and you need to be social for social networking to work.
  3. There is a line between Professional and Personal.  Actually there are several. Everyone is different, and it is the relationship of the individuals that defines the social nature of the connection, how personal and/or professional it will be.

For my next trick, I’ll find the right balance.

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2 Responses to “Social Networks & the Rookie, Part the Second: Personal or Professional?”

  1. ginidietrich says:

    Hi Davina! This is such a great post for all to consider. I get questions all the time from CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs…but why would I want people to know what I had for lunch?

    It’s about boundaries, it’s about doing what’s good for you, and it’s about being SOCIAL (like you say). I always liken social media to a networking event. Think about it that way. You don’t spend all day at a networking event so don’t spend all day on social media. What do you say to people at a networking event (it’s not “I had a hot dog for lunch”)? The only difference is you’re behind a computer screen, which is actually less scary than in person.

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Gini. Funny, right after I posted this I got a tweet about another article on Balancing the Personal and Professional, and that balance is something everyone has to find for themselves. We’re all going to have profiles out here on the Interwebs for all to see, so it matters what we share and post.

    ITA with you (and @garyvee, who has blogged about this as well) that social media can make us more social. Because we feel safer behind our computer screens, we’re more comfortable following on Twitter or asking to be LinkedIn to someone, makes us more connected.

    [Reply]

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