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Monday, July 25, 2011

Separating Social Media Messages and Sites

If you've read this blog or followed my tweets since I started using social media you know it has been an uneven path.  I have twice deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts only to re-start them some time later.  I have vacillated on the best use of this blog and generally questioned the whole purpose of this medium. Now a few years later I use this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In on a regular basis.

The reason I use four sites when I once questioned the use of social media at all is simple; it makes sense to separate various types of communication among various outlets and restrict access to some.

If you have ever sent a Facebook friend request and been ignored, or worse yet been accepted and subsequently dropped, do not feel excluded.  I use Facebook for family and current close friends only. By that I mean if we grew up together but haven't seen each other since high school, or we work together but do not see each other socially, I don't grant you access on my Facebook page. I then restrict access to my content to anyone who is not specifically a friend or family member.

This is the place where I feel free to be candid; to communicate to my closest friends and keep in touch with (sometimes sordid) family business.

The reason I have resurrected my Facebook page for that purpose is that sometimes content intended for our internal audience (most of the readers of this blog) can come back to bite me from people outside the company.  At my level in the organization outsiders sometimes mistake my opinions for the company's positions on this or that.  Separating those two is important, and difficult, so I keep politics and religion on Facebook and reserve this outlet for business and professional topics.

This blog is my outlet for professional speech.  It is all about workplace issues and HR and little else.  Anyone is welcome to comment and I never censor comments unless they are vulgar or compromise the confidential information of an employee.  Otherwise this blog should be a place for open professional conversations.

Similarly I use Linked In for professional networking.  Just like I don't censor comments on this blog, I rarely turn down a Linked In connection.  As far as I'm concerned the more the merrier.

The hybrid in my system is Twitter.  I generally try to shy away from controversy and just talk about what I'm doing and where I'm going.  Long periods of silence generally indicate that I'm working in that part of my job dealing with confidential matters and I just can't talk about it.  Otherwise I like to mention products and services that I like and talk about places where I'm traveling to or from. I also use it to point people to blog information that I think is important, as I have far more twitter followers than blog subscribers.

For what its worth that is where I've come down on social media.  Blog and Linked In for professional communication, Twitter for travelog and blog traffic, and Facebook for private conversations with family and close friends.

Comments, ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

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