I love facebook. I work alone in a home office, and that can be isolating. Facebook makes me feel part of a larger community. When I log in to facebook, I can immediately see what my friends are doing – those who post updates. One person might be heating up their coffee, another working on a new painting, someone else may be taking their kids to the park, and another might be announcing a teleseminar that they are holding. I feel connected, and that is a great feeling.
One of my friends is spending this holiday traveling with her family. When she takes photographs of their vacation, she posts them the same day, and it is great to be able to share their journey visually.
I initially started my facebook page for business networking, so I use it mostly to talk about what projects I am working on. It is starting to transform a little bit into a more personal space, as I reply to my friends listings, but I am still very aware that I started the page to leverage my business, and not just to socialize.
I encourage everybody to join facebook. However, it is very important to decide what you are going to use facebook for – for socializing with your friends, for business networking, for promotion of a band or venue. The reason being that how you write and what you share can impact your professional life if prospective employers or clients (or friends of prospective employers and/or clients) read your posts. The impact can be positive, or negative, depending upon what you’ve written.
One of my colleagues just started a facebook page, and her husband cautioned her not to show her age. In this competitive job market, would she be discriminated against if prospective employers knew she was over 50? Maybe. If someone has repeated posts of a certain political slant – would that alienate prospective clients? Maybe.
Do you want to network with only your closest friends? or do you want to network with friends and business colleagues? You can set your privacy settings so that only people you have “friended” can see your posts, and so who you decide to accept as friends can dictate the type of information that you post. Still, don’t forget that whatever you post on the internet is public. What you write on a friend’s wall, their friend’s can view. A good motto is: if you don’t want the world to know it, don’t post it.
That said, I have to repeat, that I love facebook. I love reading about what my friends and colleagues are doing, and feeling connected to a larger community. It makes the four walls of my home-office-cubicle transparent, and I can visualize a whole world unfolding beyond them.
Do you use facebook? Have you ever read anything posted that would make you think twice about hiring or working with someone? Have you ever posted something that you immediately wished you could “unpost”?