Just like my ‘real’ life my ‘online’ life has blurred lines: Some professional colleagues become friends, some friends become colleagues. For many of these poor folk, I doggedly connect with them across a multitude of platforms representing all of our shared interests and in doing so the boundaries between professional and personal have become well and truly blurred. You see, although it has been suggested that facebook is the ‘backyard BBQ‘ network, I joined it in a professional capacity because many of my then work colleagues were doing so and it was actively encouraged within the workplace. With LinkedIn (the ‘office’ network) I joined because I’ve personally chosen to undertake some professional development.
Does this matter? I don’t know. When trying to draw out some general thoughts about online/social networks and networking that other people might find of use I struggled. It all seems terribly personal, by which I mean what works for me most certainly won’t work for everyone. My major stipulations are that I can
- manage my degree of engagement
- control how separate the networks remain.
For example, I really don’t like social networks connecting with each other or trying to post updates on my behalf. I very much fell out with HootSuite when it started posting news items on facebook for me, took me ages to disentangle those two.
Apart from that, I think that social networks are a force for good. Working part-time, mostly in the evenings and at weekends as I do, there are very few potential work mates around. It would be easy to become professionally isolated. To counter this I’ve found it necessary to make quite some effort to stay connected and social networks have made this easier.
How about you? What social networks do you use? And what do you think of that word profersonal?