Social networking is on the rise among people of all ages as a means to keep in touch with family, friends and professional colleagues. I find it amazing that I can go onto my Facebook page and see pictures of where one of my colleagues who lives across the country is on vacation at and be able to make comments on their pictures. It is a great way for people to stay in touch with many with just a few clicks. Many business now have Facebook fan pages for their customers to keep in touch with them, it has become a form of advertising that virtually costs the business nothing, but the time it takes to post information to their fans. But as there are so many good things about Facebook, twitter and such there are also things to beware of. First you must realize that when you post something on the internet such as one of these sites, you are leaving a lifetime imprint via the internet about you and what you are doing and saying. As positive as this can be on one hand, it can be detrimental to your social life and professional life if you do not protect yourself and what you post or allow to be posted about you. I am sorry to say it but there are some really not so nice people out their and you may work with one. It is always best (if you thought of it first) to have a professional page and a private page separately, but if you were like me you didn’t know to do that and it cannot be done in reverse. Many people allow anyone to be their friend and really do not think about it (the more friends the more popular) and this can backfire on you if you have something posted that could represent you in an unfavorable light to those you associate with on a professional level. This brings up a good question, who should you invite or accept as friends? Just because you work with someone does it mean you have to accept them as your friend? Not at all. You need to take some time to think about what is smart for you and only you can know that. It is okay to tell people you work with that you keep your Facebook page private for just personal friends and family. This really is a smart idea, especially if you do not know your co-workers and colleagues very well. If you feel that it is okay to accept colleagues and co-workers as friends then make sure you censor what you post as once you post it for public knowledge there is no way to stop someone from sharing the information you posted with others. For example; if you call in sick to work on Monday, don’t post “hang over blues today” on your Facebook page for everyone in the office to see. We need to think with our “Facebook filters” on, each time you post. Remember all of those people who are going to be able to see it, and ask yourself this simple question “what might others think of me when they see this?”
As an aside for those of you in management positions you might want to do what I do regarding employees that have you as a friend. I make it a point of NOT perusing their Facebook wall, if I see something they have posted I may make a comment, but I do not go nosing around finding out who their friends are and what all is on their page. It is a very simple line that I have drawn myself that really makes things, when it comes to Facebook, very easy. Take time to think of the rules you may need to set up for yourself to keep your social networking fun and friendly and not fretful.