Get a “Social” Life

You can run but you can’t hide for long from social networking. At some point or another you will have to sign up for one or probably more social networks. But recently some early adopters have said they want out completely – the equivalent of unplugging entirely from social networking. To them I say – Get a “social” life!

Take Mr. Das. He joined Facebook on a whim after receiving invitations from friends. He then tried to leave after realizing that most of his coworkers were also on the site.

“I work in a small office. The last thing I want is people going on there and checking out my private life,” he said. “I did not want to be on it after junior associates at work whom I have to manage saw my stuff.”

But Mr. Das is missing the point. A “social” network is about being “social.” It’s about being transparent in who you are, your likes, your dislikes. It humanizes you for the rest of us. Sure, there are things you may not want to be public, so just use common sense about what you post.

Managers like you should welcome social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo into the workplace. Not only are they tools for colleagues to interact with you and build relationships with one another, but having them viewable by the public makes your company seem more approachable and engaging.

To a certain extent, having a Facebook page is like allowing others to see your desk at work. No, not the pile of papers, but the “stuff” that is unique to you – the pictures of your wife and kids, the shot of you and your buddies skiing in Park City last year. You know, the things that make your space your own!

If the problem is too many requests, well Facebook hears you. The site just launched a feature that will allow you to “ignore all” request made. Now I am not suggesting you go that far, but that might ease your pain.

Where’s the Buzz? By now, everyone reading this should at least have a personal Facebook or LinkedIn page. If you don’t, get to work. It is beneficial to you, your company and your network to do so. Participate as much as you wish. There are no rules for how many posting you should have or not have. And be smart. Don’t post things you wouldn’t want your mom to see or read.

Social networking is not that hard. But like the lottery, you have to buy a ticket to win at it.

5 comments to Get a “Social” Life

  • Leigh Anne Wallace

    I am young enough to have an original Facebook account back when you had to have a college email to join. You would think being from that generation I would be be all embracing of Social Media. My problem is that I want my social media to stay social which to me means outside of work. I am fine with LinkedIn which is really just about networking to find a job (let’s be honest) but I don’t want my boss looking at my Spring Break pictures. I have solved this by creating a second Facebook account which I use solely for business interactions. That way I can keep my personal life personal, and my professional life professional.

  • Paul Dunay

    Great point Leigh Anne and thanks for the idea on how to get around such an issue

  • Tracey

    Great post. I have a litmus test for the information I post on my social networking sites — if I wouldn’t mind all of the following people to see it, then it’s ok to post: Mom, boss, CEO, future or past employer.

  • Paul Dunay

    Tracey

    I love the Mom test! That works for me!

  • Brian S

    Very interesting and relevant, as I’ve found social networking sites to be both helpful (in some cases) and generally enjoyable, as well.

    I think LinkedIn fills a great niche as the “work” social networking site. It’s been an interesting way to get introduced to colleagues or contacts, and to search for jobs or contracting opportunities. I’ve also enjoyed seeing how I’m connected to people.

    Other social networking sites (for me it was Myspace) are a little more difficult. I want it to be an online presence in which I can showcase my interests, demonstrate a sense of humor, and keep my friends up-to-date on what I’m up to. I didn’t want to go “private” because I want old friends who might not have my e-mail address to be able to find me and get back in touch, but when some of my coworkers asked to connect, I decided to start censoring myself a little more rigidly.

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