How Personal Should You Get in Social Media?

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever said online?  Did it come back to bite you?  Join Peggy, Mari and I every Wed. night on at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific (which means 6 for all my Colorado followers).  You’ll need to sign in when it asks for a room, type in  #lion.  And then join in the fun.

LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker in case you were wondering.  Sounded better than TWOG

How Open a Networker are You?

OK – I know I said I was a promiscuous networker. And I am. But let’s talk about how “personal” one should get in social networking.

It depends, of course, upon the platform. MySpace lends itself to embarrassing amounts of personal information and revealing pictures that might haunt you for the rest of your life. FaceBook can easily assume the same “personal” touch. LinkedIn is – and should remain – a strictly business platform. And Twitter is ever a hybrid of all of the above.

Despite the range in “touchiness”, here is my opinion: if it’s public – be professional. As Jeffrey Gitomer says in his “Little black Book of Connections” You have to more than classy – you have to be first class.

Let us not forget that everything we put on the web – from blogs, to tweets, to updates, to profiles – are archived and searchable. There is a paper I wrote for a Canadian University Intranet group on “Native Canadians Folklore” posted way back in 1992, and it is still out there. That’s not so embarrassing. But let’s take into account the secretary I didn’t hire because her MySpace personal statement was “I want to throw sharp things at your face.”

Don’t assume that just because your social media platform is private, strategic or protected that the information is not there to stay. Someone will find it some day – and you might live to regret that. So when it comes to social media – “keep your shirt on, your pants zipped and your information professional and relevant.”

Having said all that – I met my fiancé because of LinkedIn (I took one of his classes – and I was “sold”). So keep it professional online – and do whatever you want offline J


One Response to How Personal Should You Get in Social Media?

  1. Tim Rueb says:

    I have always drawn the line at understanding what my brand is and then making the decision as to what adds value to my brand or what doesn’t. I think many people fall into the trap of wanting to update social media sites for the sake of updates so they are perceived as very active and that is a mistake if brand quality is sacrificed.

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