My Verdict on Keeping Personal and Professional Separate

A couple weeks ago, I asked a question. Should we keep personal and professional separate when it comes to social networking? Specifically, I had been struggling with what to do about facebook. I’ve always used it as a place for friends and never used it to connect with professional contacts. I limited that to LinkedIn and twitter.

After getting a lot of comments (for a newish blog, at least) on the post and a ton of responses to the similar question I asked on LinkedIn, it’s obvious that others are talking about this, too. They ranged from “No way should you put them together” to the opposite end of the spectrum. Some people were middle of the road.

The Verdict
I’m going to open up my facebook to communicate with both personal and professional folks alike.

What did it for me? I was reminded firsthand of the benefits of keeping connected with professionals beyond just LinkedIn and twitter last week. A former coworker, Mark, who I’m really good friends with was visiting Chicago. Another former coworker, Rakesh, moved to Chicago about two years ago with his wife. We hadn’t really stayed in touch.

My friend asked if I had Rakesh’s mobile number. I didn’t. But I remembered that we are still connected on facebook. I sent Rakesh a message to let him know that Mark was in the Windy City and wanted to get together. I also gave him Mark’s mobile number. Rakesh got the message and gave Mark a call so they could hang out.

So what’s the big deal? It’s a great picture of the power of connections – about being able to bring the right people together, regardless of the reason. Whether it’s helping two guys connect for a beer in Wrigleyville or helping someone find a PR pro well versed in social media who happens to live in Ohio, it would be beneficial to me and the community at large to be able to come through and help from time to time.

Don’t worry, though. I’ve updated all my privacy settings so family and friends can see my kids without barraging professional contacts with too many photos from our weekend at the beach. As beautiful as my kids are, it’s scientifically proven that you can only take so much of seeing other people’s kids before it gets nauseating.

So, want to connect on facebook? If so, you can find my profile here. And feel free to connect with me at other places here.

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7 responses to “My Verdict on Keeping Personal and Professional Separate

  1. thecoconutdiaries

    Bravo! As long as you conduct yourself with integrity wherever you are, you have nothing to hide. And I love looking at pictures of kids as long as they are tasteful. I don’t want to see junior’s first dump while I am trying to stealthily read your blog over breakfast!

  2. I have another Facebook story that relates here. Recently I was contacted by a local marketer who is looking to hire a social media person. He emailed me to see if I might know of anyone, and it resulted in some great back and forth and a valuable new contact. How did he get my email? He saw me in a social media related group on Facebook, noticed I was local, and sent me a note. Networking is networking. Glad to add you to my Facebook, where you won’t see human kid pics but you will see lots of the four-legged kind.

  3. I think this is a fair compromise. I myself decided that though my profile is private- I will add people on an individual basis and evaluate my content at that time. I did however remove many an unflattering picture just in case.

  4. Oh and I also just posted on this on my new site…

    I got an article that talks about how 83% of employers will look at someone’s digital “dirt” before hiring them… very interesting.

  5. 83 percent?! Wow. Doesn’t surpise me. That’s why I think this is something we should all think about.

    I was talking with a couple of our interns the other day about this and one said a friend who graduated in May was interview for a full-time job at an agency. During the interview, she was asked to pull up her facebook page, so she reluctantly did. Once it was up, they asked her to leave the room and then they dug around her profile so they could see things she may have put privacy that others couldn’t see.

    What?! Gotta be kidding me. That’s just wrong, and I’m surpised she complied. Would you want to work somewhere like that? I can understand doing a little digging on your own, but asking people to pull up their profiles and leave the room is crazy talk.

  6. that’s absolutely ridiculous. I can totally understand doing some googling and “background check” if you will… but pulling up her admin access is so wrong. However, I can’t blame her for doing it. If it were me a year ago, I probably would have as well and wouldn’t have thought twice to ask why or what for- simply because I would know any better! Wow.

  7. Debating this myself, thus a little Googling led me to this blog. Your first post played out many of the arguments running around my head. And…

    I’ve gone the other way: keeping a line between personal and professional, public and private. It may be overly cautious, but I’m not sure I want those worlds collide head-on.

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