I have been talking quite a bit about Facebook and social networking with folks and the topic of how best to incorporate your personal life into your professional personae has come up quite a bit. While the least complicated solution is to not mix them at all, and leave Facebook as a personal friend portal and direct any colleagues to a LinkedIn profile, however, that may not always be the preferred solution. For a large number of folks in the business world over the age of 30, social networking is something that is not as simple as it is for younger folks. Many people are a lot more cautious and consider who they add as a friend in their network, while also being concerned about what information they divulge online.
If I use myself for a minute, it’s pretty easy to find information about me online. Within the top 20 results you can see the top 10 social networks I use, where I work, some of the stuff I have done at work, and find out about my Liver Transplant just over 2 years ago; without spending more than 5 minutes looking. That’s all pretty superficial sure, but other things you could find online if you happened to be connected to me somehow on facebook could reveal a lot more once you consider what can be revealed by friends who might tag me in a photo or note. Just take a look at what’s happening to Michael Phelps right now, all because someone took a picture of him at a party and sold it. This could just have easily been launched by a photo uploaded to Flickr or a Facebook profile. Granted this would be a non-issue for the vast majority of people, but it’s a great example of how other people can affect your life in a big way with a single act.