PC World has a post on the “6 Commandments of Social Networking“, which contains (among others) a couple of best practices I’ve recommended ever so often on this blog. Let’s take a look at them and wherever necessary I’ll link to a post from the past. (Disclosure: I’m the Community Evangelist at LinkedIn and I’m hoping that won’t prevent you from reading the rest of the post)
1. Keep separate professional and social networking avatars
I think the first 3 rules goes into extreme detail trying to educate you on how to maintain the lines between your professional and social networking lives. Here’s my most recent post on the need for two separate networks (one social and the other professional). The PC World piece itself hints that:
Because so many people use their Facebook or Twitter accounts to manage both personal and professional aspects of their lives, this can lead to some tricky situations. Take, for example, vacation photos. It’s not just your mom looking at pictures of you at the Grand Canyon anymore.
I’ve referred to this very situation in an earlier post where I quoted Keith N. Hampton, an assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, who thinks that
…you should be able to present one face to your boss, and another to your poker buddies. “We have very real reasons for wanting to segment our social network”
The PC World article goes on to highlight other never-do’s regards to sharing photos and status messages. Employment lawyer, Ron, warns:
You should not post photos of yourself or others that paint you or others in an unprofessional light.”Similarly, you should also remember to be mindful of any text missives that could come back to haunt you. Block points out, “Your status updates do not have to be suitable for ‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations,’ but think twice before posting what a rotten day you are having.
Given the enormous time constraints in setting numerous privacy controls spanning a variety of apps and hundreds of “friends” in my social network, I manage a social avatar on Facebook (private)/Twitter (public) while I focus on my professional interests on LinkedIn/this blog (public).
How do you maintain your social networks?
2. Present your online brand respectfully and honestly
I’ve always believed that maintaining a public professional profile is way more important than regular updates on Twitter and Facebook (although I do both!). But, with minimal effort you can set up your professional network (Here’s mine).
Your online brand is eventually going to revolve around your Google search and your professional networking site is one of those components you can get up and running quickly without wasting much time. And if you’d like a far more cultivated professional brand, I’d say start a blog and link to it.
Feel free to share in the comments section what your professional networking best practices are.
Do you maintain separate social and professional networking lives? Share in comments.