Mark Stencel (editor of the Governing magazine) left a comment, which I thought was worth publishing in it’s entirety in response to my earlier post on Professional Networking 101
Mario: I think maintaining two identities is a little difficult in this day and age, since relationships often transcend worlds — and in the end, you connect with your friends, professional and/or personal, whereever they happen to be. If you try to maintain a strictly professional profile on Facebook because your organization/employer has an institutional group there, do you “ignore” that old college buddy who wants to “friend” you there?
I always assume most online postings are widely accessible, and since I have ended up with a combination of social and professional connections on a variety of platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on), I try to maintain a somewhat professional demeanor everywhere — never getting much more personal in any public posting than I would on an elevator or in line at a coffee shop. I divert most personal communications to more private channels (Facebook messages or plain old e-mail) and turn off applications that invite trouble. For instance, I nuked the Wall from my Facebook profile after an old high school friend posted a reminiscence I’d just as soon not share with current colleagues.
LinkedIn’s somewhat more limited communication tools have helped make it a safer place for professional communication. And I say that as an enthusiast, not a critic. But I’d still be cautious about any questions or answers I posted there.
My ideal world: Facebook, LinkedIn and other services would provide a Plaxo-like way to distinguish between friends (professional, social, both) that would allow users to more easily present different faces to different people. That said, I’d still assume anything I posted can and will be used against me professionally.
My response to that:
There may be an varying level of overlap between your social and professional networks. In my case it ONLY includes individuals who are actually in both of my networks (social and professional). For e.g. The “work” friends I socialize with
And, that’s exactly the reason I don’t maintain a professional presence on Facebook since there are far greater opportunities to be social on FB. But that’s just me.
As for your 2nd point, I wholeheartedly agree it is important to establish a certain degree of propriety wherever you are on the web and that ties to my previous post on crafting, developing and maintaining your online brand. Cos, what you do on the Web stays on the Web – FOREVER!
And, thanks for you kind words on LinkedIn.
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