I am fairly transparent…with my social media profiles. I don’t mind that people I know professionally see the more personal side of me. Most people know I love martinis and Boise State football. I tweet things that are not work-related and may sometimes border on unprofessional but I think it actually helps sculpt a fuller picture of who I am. People want to do business with people, and not with logos. May I turn a few people off by a few things that I say? Maybe/probably. However, I hope to endear more people by being more personable, by showing a sense of humor, and by being a real person–flaws and all (I know, you’re probably asking “what flaws?” and if so, you’ve been talking to my grandparents too much).
I do not limit who can see my tweets and our blog is completely open. I only limit my LinkedIn account to people that I know, especially from school or professionally, because I think that a LinkedIn connection is somewhat an endorsement in and of itself. However, on LinkedIn, I’m on my best behavior because that’s what people do on LinkedIn; they sit in their virtual suits with their virtual resumes and they virtually shake hands. They don’t fist pump, take tequila shots, and wear jorts (jean shorts).
Facebook is another story. When Facebook started showing business potential, we quickly jumped on the bandwagon with groups and then later with business pages. However, I always kept my Facebook personal profile for me. While it will not surprise any readers, there are probably pictures on there that I don’t want broadcasted to everyone and their mother, literally, and I have friends that post things on my wall that I might not want our banker to read. That’s okay- I use privacy settings for anyone who is not a friend. As Facebook has become more and more prevalent amongst professionals, I have started receiving many friend requests from people that I know purely in a professional capacity. I used to never accept these; I made a conscious rule that my Facebook profile was for me and I could share it with whomever I wanted (that would also like to be my friend in return, of course). A couple of months ago, when privacy settings became more robust, I started accepting purely professional contacts and put them on limited profile. I broke my own rules.
I immediately felt weird about it, but I felt worse denying someone that I do like “friendship.” As a result of breaking my own rules, I paid the price. It was a minor incident and, for all intents and purposes, a miscommunication. However, it was my fault and I knew better than to break my rules and boundaries. I knew what I was comfortable with and I should not have wavered.
Since then, I “defriended” everyone that I previously had on limited profile. If you are one of those people, I apologize. It has absolutely nothing to do with how much I like you or a change in the “status” of our relationship. I feel the same about you before the defriending that I feel about you now.
Is it not enough to connect with someone on LinkedIn and to follow them on Twitter? Can’t they like our Facebook business page? My Facebook profile is for me, and if it means that my friends get to know me better and end up referring business to us because they like me, then that is tremendous. Am I still friends with some people on Facebook that I first knew, and may primarily know, professionally? Yes. However, I feel comfortable with those people seeing more of my life. I won’t give you reasons and I don’t have to give reasons. It is my prerogative. It usually has to do with how cute your profile picture is. Of course I’m kidding but if I want that to be my friend guideline, then that is my guideline. It is not our company rule–it is my rule.
The bottom line that I’m making here is that even the most transparent of us social media people might want to have a sacred online place too. Don’t be offended if someone that you know does not choose to connect with you on a certain platform. Everyone has different rules and guidelines and we don’t all need to be hyper-connected.
This is obviously my opinion considering I started about 80% of the sentences in this post with “I” but “I” would be curious to know what you all think. Do you keep anything sacred or do you let it all hang out there?