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.
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.