Recently, Linkedin stopped allowing users to link their Twitter feed to appear on their profile page. While there hasn’t seemed to be too much of a backlash yet, there are also important lessons that can be taken from the split. Social media has become a big integration into our lives, but often the line is blurred between what’s professional, what’s strictly private, and if the two can co-exist. The truth is it can co-exist, but that doesn’t mean it should. Below are things to remember about keeping our private lives away from our professional networking.
Twitter and Linkedin
When LinkedIn came about, it was one of the first places that allowed you to focus strictly on professional social media; a new concept for some of us. With the advent of integrating your Twitter feed, the line of professional and personal got blended. While there are legitimate “professional” tweets, you couldn’t really control the influx of personal messages either. That might be okay if your profession is tied to your social media handling, and for some of us it is, i.e. bloggers, online personalities, etc. However, for the rest of us, it is hard to utilize Linkedin for the job hunt when you’re also tweeting videos of things employers probably shouldn’t see. It is important to draw a line between your personal and professional self, and by allowing personal messages to come through, you no longer had the control on Linkedin.
Control Your Public Image
While this advice seems reserved for celebrities and the like, it is important to remember how social media has given ALL of us a public image. This is something that you may not care about keeping in check, and you feel that everything you do is suitable for public release. For some, that can be okay. Maybe you get more benefit from putting it all out there, and some of us are still young enough to not worry about repercussions of choices we make on a day to day basis. For those of us that want to be taken as a professional, however, it is so important to keep control over what you don’t want to be known. This means either setting your Facebook profile to private so you can have complete authority over who can view your musings while online, or simply making sure that not everyone can see every single status you post. This also means not sending anything out online that you don’t want to be held accountable for later.
Remember the Facebook Debacles?
All of this information might seem asenine to some out there, but this is very important. It has only been a little while, but don’t forget about when employers started tracking potential employees’ Facebook accounts down. Those not looking after their profiles suffered by letting too much private information out there. While a lot of the recourse taken by the employers is ridiculous (after all you should be able to have a personal and professional life independent of one another), nevertheless, action was taken because the professional community didn’t like what it saw online. This line could have been just as easily crossed with Linkedin and Twitter, so it’s best to keep everything under wraps.
Know When to be Personable
As precautionary as this all sounds, there is still an important role being personable can play. While you don’t need to unload every single thought on your professional networking sites, it is nice to know when future employees or bosses share your enthusiasm. It is okay to talk about music, movies, or TV that you like, but doesn’t mean you then disclose the new drinking game you made to Ghostbusters. Keep your personal information close to you, but don’t be afraid to be friendly and outgoing. There is a distinct line between friendly and overbearing with information, though.
The Twitter and Linkedin disconnection will prove to be a good move, and hopefully we’ll all realize how to conduct ourselves as to now allow for every move we make in our everyday life have a bearing on how we’re perceived at work. Responsible social media use is important, and shouldn’t be abused.
Jordan Mendys lives in North Carolina, and is a media professional and blogger. He works with Direct2TV, as well as being a freelance photographer and video producer.