Every professional on this planet has struggled to keep their professional and personal life apart… Ever found yourself in a situation where your professional & personal lives collided with each other? Hypothetically speaking: A business acquaintance approaches you at the company picnic, “Hey I saw a photograph of you partying really hard… Did you not get escorted out of there?”
This week, we question the ethical code of being a professional whose job description involves spending a large chunk of their office hours online… We will further explore the dilemmas faced by professionals, especially those involved in virtual/online marketing and social media…
The truth of the matter is that our personal and professional lives are intertwined to begin with and it all comes down to a question of privacy…. Do we really want to live life like celebrities, with everything out there for all to see? These are just a tiny portion from the number of dilemmas a person may possibly face while publishing content online, I will explore the 3 most common concerns/mistakes with you:
- Social news VS Professional news – The type of information/content you choose to publish/share has a direct affect on your online avatar… You may be somebody who operates in a morally grey area or may project a complete transparent identity, but what do you get up to in your personal life…? Very few people stop and consider that sharing their vacation photographs or weekend home videos may impact how the people they are professionally connected with view them.
- Connect VS Converse – Social media marketing’s effectiveness comes from engaging in meaningful conversation and forging connections with fewer, interested and active friends, fans, or customers. You can really damage your own as well as your company’s reputation if you start collecting friends and followers. Be very wary about letting others get the impression that you don’t really want to have a conversation with them but instead just want to broadcast or speak at them.
- Share, only when completely Aware – Ghost blogging, Twittering on behalf of your clients etc can be a very uncertain situation to put yourself in. Determine the credibility of your source of information as misinformation can sometimes spread like wildfire across Twitter, Facebook and the last thing you’d want to do is get the reputation of being a medium for misinformation. Take care when repeating what you hear from others in social media circles… Your own credibility depends on it!
So how do we make sure our ‘social networking’ doesn’t clash with our ‘business networking’? As somebody whose job involves spending a large chunk of time online I can personally tell you, it is not easy to manage… What I intend to do is offer you a few strategies that you can employ to maintain a bifurcation between the two streams of information that you share/publish/post.
- The first and easiest strategy is to form an official group/page/blog where you can redirect the people you know on a professional basis to, instead of ignoring the friend requests or putting them on some limited profile… Chances are they will discover your attempt at avoidance and you will end up with a very awkward situation on your hands.My suggestion is use alternative sites like LinkedIn to create/manage your professional networks… All you need to do is send a short, straightforward message those contacts you would like to remove from your social networks. Send something to the effect – “I am separating my professional and personal contacts and I encourage you to connect with me on linkedIn” and continue to be selective about the friends you accept…
- The second strategy is a lot more obvious, most people prefer to maintain two of everything… Two separate email IDs and two profiles on all social media networks etc.I did personally, try out this method and discovered it doesn’t work for too long, because people get the impression that you are being a snob by ignoring and redirecting people to a different profile on the same site! You don’t want to make the mistake of appearing holier-than-thou on a professional front.
You may as well be wondering, Now what? How does a person fix this problem, if at all…? What I have suggested to you are short-term strategies but the truth of the matter is there is only one way to survive the test of time and that is ‘Transparency.’
Worry not about your contacts; rather control your stream of information. Don’t bifurcate the two and Be selective, and consider the value of everything that you share across your networks. Over a period of time you will build for yourself a ‘History of Credibility’ so that no matter what information you may be sharing – be it, personal or professional – it will not be detrimental to your reputation!
This topic, my dear bloggers, I fear has resulted in an internal struggle for me so I will conclude this post with not one, but two quotes… Metaphorically speaking I leave you to decide between the two sides of the Social Media coin:
“If your reputation sucks, none of it matters. People with lousy products, crummy business practices, and shady backgrounds get found out. And word spreads with frightening speed”
“You will make mistakes. If you are sincere about helping the community, the authenticity will show and your mistakes will be forgiven”
This is Tushnaa… Signing out
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