professional-versus-personalWhile social media has created interpersonal relationships, it has caused much confusion. We can now chat with and learn from people around the world, however the distinction of professional versus personal has been blurred. Are you Facebook friends with your colleagues?  What about with your kids? Is your instagram feed set to private?

You can no longer assume that what you put on your personal social media profiles is actually personal and private. You may be very selective and only connect with your colleagues via LinkedIn, but that doesn’t maintain the separation. What do you do when a colleague sends a Facebook friend request? Ignoring it could be taken as an insult.

Social media privacy settings are useless

I know you’re probably saying that this doesn’t apply to you, because you have tight security settings. You’re careful to have your vacation fling and nights out on Facebook, and professional humblebrags for LinkedIn. Your instagrammed photos of your potty training children are set to private.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that was a waste of your time. Facebook is notorious for changing their privacy settings, and we aren’t always notified of the changes. Plus, do you trust your Facebook friends? A smart phone can create a screen grab in a second. Another five seconds and the screen grab has been posted in their feeds.

How to work with the blurring of professional versus personal social media?

What can you do about this? Embrace the merging of professional and personal. There’s no other choice really because you can’t control it. Expectations are changing, so while you may have a strict definition of privacy, others may not. Remember the screen grab.

You can still use the settings for a level of privacy. Schedule time every month of two to check over the privacy settings on all your social media profiles.

However, the best thing to do is be thoughtful on what you post and share. That means no mentions of drunken nights out, or frustration on a bad day. Do you have an extreme opinion? Make sure you have solid research before declaring it (yes, I am thinking of a specific instance here). Or in summary, how is it that you want to be viewed? Then, that’s how you need to behave.

What tricks do you have to add?

Note: today’s stock image is from Kaboom Pics. I’m hesitant to share this stash of gorgeous, free images for commercial use, but you should all have access to such beauty.

2 thoughts on “Professional versus personal social media profiles

  1. A great discussion starter Bianca, and some good advice. I’ve found the lines blurring more and more, and I’m actually fine with it. It’s kind of fun to get to know colleagues via FB (almost a modern-day version of company picnics where you’d meet families and see who was good at sports…) I think that when you reach a certain point in your life and career, you’re less likely to post something that can gt you in trouble, unless of course, you’re looking for trouble!

  2. Eek, my reply was lost. Sorry, Kamna.

    I hope everyone reaches that stage in their life. This was influenced by a social media best practice session we ran at work and some clergy will a little shocked by how their posts could be interpreted.

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