A little over a year ago, I succumbed to the hype and became a member of Facebook. Fast-forward one year --- am now a Facebook-aholic. I’ve reconnected with old friends, distant relatives are now up-to-date on all of my doings, and my travel photos are getting a second glance. I have utilized Events, Groups, and Fan Pages for non-profits that I volunteer for, and helped a number of friends on Facebook by answering their many technical questions.
So, where do you draw the line on whom to accept or invite as a Facebook “friend”? We have all experienced having a co-worker send us a friend request. And what do you do when a Twitter follower that you recently connected with, asks to be your friend? For me, this was an individual that I was flattered to make acquaintance with, but does he want to hear about my weekend plans or see photos of my dog?
Here are a few guidelines to consider for Professional vs. Personal Networking on Facebook:
1. Do you eat, sleep, and breathe your work?
Then dive right in and accept/invite everyone
as your friend. Go ahead and mix your work and personal friends together, because, let’s face it - you probably don’t have many personal friends anyway if all you do is talk about work.
2. Are you passionate about your work and professional branding, but live for the weekend?
A healthy mix
of personal and professional networking is the ticket for you. Try using Linked In as your digital Rolodex and networking catalyst, and Twitter for expressing your professional flair and interests. Then, reserve Facebook strictly for friends and family to share your photos, jokes, sports smack-talk, and political opinions.
3. Do you like to shout out your every thought from the rooftop, all of the time?
You can find yourself without a job if you post inappropriate photos, violate workplace confidentiality, or even complain about a boss or co-worker. Anyone with minimal common sense should understand this, but it never ceases to amaze me what some people write in their Facebook status updates. If you cannot refrain from emotionally expressing yourself to the masses, better not include any professional contacts on your Facebook, ever. Twitter is probably not right for you either. Put up a profile on Linked In and stick to business conversations.
Remember, there are no rules. Take your time and do what you are comfortable with. If you still can’t decide how to separate Professional vs. Personal Networking on Facebook, ask yourself a.) Would your Facebook friends de-friend you if you posted your Tweets as your status updates? b.) Would your Tweeps un-follow you if you tweeted your Facebook status updates?
Transparency is important in business relationships, but it stops at “Who’s coming to the reunion? Woot!”