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Social Media Intrigue

The walls separating our personal lives from our business activities are coming down faster than we can rebuild them.

I wouldn't blame this enitrely on the advent of social media, but the line separating private and business activities began fading even more rapidly as individuals started exchanging information via outlets like {complink 10867|Facebook} and {complink 11949|Twitter Inc.} Is this acceptable to everyone? Do we have a desire to maintain that divide? Are employers encouraging the blurring of distinctions, and can it even be halted?

Many companies are leaving employees to decide where their personal and business lives collide and how forcefully they should merge. I believe this is a mistake that may cost some employees and even companies dearly.

Many companies, including mine, have made social media a priority. The prevailing winds are blowing in that direction, and the business case for engaging with your audience via this medium is becoming clearer. At enterprises, it's clear the information harvested via social media is purer than what you get from traditional sources. Updates are instantaneous, for instance, and you can quickly find out if a business contact at a supplier has changed jobs.

Social media sites are no longer a fad — if they ever were. They have gone completely mainstream, moving from a platform used by teenagers and celebrities for exchanging information to an avenue for the dissemination of B2B messages. Many companies see social media as another way to gain valuable data about prospects, employees, products, services, and ideas. (See: Digi-Key’s Guide to Social Media Success.)

Some companies even test products via social media. They prefer the better known, more manageable audience available through their partner networks over the vague, less clearly defined population a polling firm might develop.

Think of it this way: We now have the tools to hit the mark every time with our messages. The age of the town crier is over. What we have is personalized messages conducted via caller ID on steroids. A company can engage with a potential customer directly, customize the product and message well ahead of engagement, and clinch sales at reduced costs.

But social media interactions occur more at a personal than at a corporate level, notwithstanding all the Facebook.com/whatever out there. I have never clicked on anything slash-Facebook, but I have looked at corporate Websites posted on {complink 11921|LinkedIn Corp.} connections. Some of these connections were developed at UBM, my current employer, while many more are from contacts made more than a decade ago. Today I tap some of these to the advantage of my employer. For some people, even personal contacts on social media sites can be harvested for the benefit of an employer.

How far should we go, though, before we antagonize friends and relatives? When and where should we stop the rapid encroachment of business activities into our personal lives? Should I send my latest blogs to all my Facebook contacts, the majority of whom are relatives, friends, former schoolmates, neighbors, or other personal acquaintances? Many of them are not interested in why {complink 3847|Nokia Corp.} and {complink 4644|Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)} may be losing out to {complink 379|Apple Inc.} and {complink 4751|Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.} in the smartphone wars. The large majority of them don't care about the supply chain process that transformed numerous components from various parts of the world into the PC or Android phone they just picked up for the holidays. They just want the product to be at their local retailer when they need it.

However, I also have social media contacts who live and breathe this stuff. They care about gross profit margins at contract manufacturers and semiconductor vendors. They want to know whose product was designed into or will be designed into the next-gen iPad/iPhone/HTC Transformer. They think the Embedded Systems Conference is far more exciting than the Miss World beauty contest, and they pant for information on how Apple is going to use its enormous cash to secure an eternal supply of flash memory parts.

These people are on my social media contact list, and I regularly get requests to be added to my “friends or connections” list. Happily, I always oblige, because I know that these people will enrich my professional experience as much as (I hope) I add to their own. Collectively, the social media networks that we build make us better employees, employers, managers, and professionals.

How should I distinguish these two lives I live online, and where does my employer fit into all this? Does it have the right to “compel” me to send a tweet to my personal Twitter account and cultivate my Facebook Friends for its own purpose? Should I share my professional life with everyone on my social media list, or should only a select few qualify to get regular updates from me? In summary, on social media, am I Bolaji Ojo the individual or Bolaji Ojo the employee, and who gets to make that decision?

I have my own thoughts, but I would also like to hear from you.

54 comments on “Social Media Intrigue

  1. stochastic excursion
    December 27, 2011

    Social media can be a great boon for business and may be as indispensable as the telephone when it comes to doing business.  Like the telephone, it may take some skill and planning in developing contacts in order to be of real value.

  2. AnalyzeThis
    December 27, 2011

    I have a feeling the discussion on this topic will be pretty interesting, because it's a complicated issues and you pose a lot of good questions.

    I think one common approach people have is that they use Facebook for their personal life and LinkedIn for their professional life. It's not a bad idea, but there's always some sort of cross-over as surely some of the people you meet in your professional life become friends (and sometimes vice-versa, but that's not as common).

    Rather than deal with all that, my solution is just to use LinkedIn and not deal with Facebook. It really does eliminate a lot of the issues you mention, plus it cuts way down on any online drama-related problems in my personal life. Plus, I can do more productive things in the time I don't waste on Facebook.

    Despite the fact I don't really get into Social Media as much as the average person my age, I will say that LinkedIn can be a very useful tool if used properly: I've been contacted through it regarding a number of interesting job opportunities and even found my latest job due to a LinkedIn automatic “Jobs You May Like” suggestion, I believe.

    Anyhow, looking forward to seeing what other people's tactics are!

  3. bolaji ojo
    December 27, 2011

    DennisQ, I signed on to LinkedIn well before getting on Facebook for the same reasons you highlighted; it was great for professional contacts. However, the universe of people on Facebook and other social media sites dwarfs connections on LinkedIn and that's why businesses are interested in these. Facebook is used in a personal way by most people but it can be mined by businesses for contact information. Like you, I am interested in how people are using these services both for professional and personal purposes.

  4. DataCrunch
    December 27, 2011

    Very timely article.  Here is a news story today, “Man sued for keeping company Twitter followers”,  about a lawsuit related to a person who worked for a company and built a Twitter following and later left and took his followers with him.  Now his former employer is suing him claiming those Twitter followers are company property.  The lines between personal and business are becoming fuzzier.

  5. _hm
    December 27, 2011

    @DennisQ: I follow just like you narrated and it looks like very effective way. Also, Monday to Friday are too busy. You get some spare time on weekend. I use 1 to 2 hours on weekend for this.

     

  6. Houngbo_Hospice
    December 27, 2011

     @ Dave Sasson:

    The lines between personal and business are becoming fuzzier.”

    In the case of the law suit, the twitter following list was built in the company's name and I agree that the employee should not go away with it. This could set a precedent and companies will now work on better social media accounts management policies.

  7. Houngbo_Hospice
    December 27, 2011

    @DennisQ:

    “Rather than deal with all that, my solution is just to use LinkedIn and not deal with Facebook.”

    For many companies and their employees, Facebook is as useful as LinkedIn and it would be difficult to choose one social medium over others. To avoid messing up profession and personal life, there should be way to separate social media contacts into different categories (the Google+ “cercle” concept for instance might be one of options). It may not solve all the problems, but it will reduce some of the issues mentioned in the blog post.

  8. itguyphil
    December 27, 2011

    I think LinkedIn is a good networking source for professionals over Facebook. Specifically because of the profile orientation and style associated with conducting business.

  9. prabhakar_deosthali
    December 28, 2011

    In my opinion it is alright to use social media for both the personal as well as professional purpose. but there should be some wall between the two. Even as a professional  , what you do for your company and what you do individually as a professional should be two different things.

    The solution may lie in having different identities for the same person playing different roles –  a friend, a relative, a professional , an employee , a citizen. By classifying your communication either by way of different identity or by way of some filters one should be able to manage how his information , his views and opinions etc become visible to only the desired target.  This will also solve the problem of companies claiming their right on what you do on these social networks.

  10. mfbertozzi
    December 28, 2011

    Post from p_d gets back to our mind what happened (and it will happen again) in terms of privacy and authorization in publishing companies' info. For traditional communications, in the past, several (legal) rules were achieved and a limited number of  attorneys held the power to represent, sign or publish a message including company's logo and so on. As of today, it is enough a smartphone and basically some drag/drop actions for by-pass very easily that schema and maybe digital contents are bringing a new era for Regulators; even some steps have been done, there's still a long path to run.

  11. Anna Young
    December 28, 2011

    @Prabhakar_deosthali, this is an interesting discussion. a difficult one to manage and set clear rules.It just happens you have friends crossing over from your professional life to personal. Both relationships are important and beneficial. On my facebook account I keep too lives – personal and professional – hence, I've had to filter informations I send to friends and colleagues. For me It is important to keep my personal life private. It's worrying to note the walls are been torn apart.

  12. hannahraasch
    December 28, 2011

    As much as we envisage that every year is the 'year of social media,' it seems like we're finally getting somewhere, we'll see a concerted effort by companies to make their companies listing well in social media sites too. And I second to you, that jobseeker is using social media sites to find desirable employment, and even small and large companies are using this tool to promote their service and/or products and even to find good and suitable candidates for their companies.

    —–

     

    Thanks.

     

  13. prabhakar_deosthali
    December 28, 2011

    @Anna Young

    Thanks for being on the same wavelength.

    I think this becomes the resposibility of Social Media Site administrators to allow individuals to create such filters and provide mechanisms to use these filters in a user friendly manner.

     

  14. Susan Fourtané
    December 28, 2011

    Great thoughts and questions, Bolaji. 

    “In summary, on social media, am I Bolaji Ojo the individual or Bolaji Ojo the employee, and who gets to make that decision?” 

    I have been wondering about several of your questions myself. I believe on social media you are Bolaji Ojo the individual who happens to spend good part of his daily hours as the Editor in Chief at EBNOnline. The question then might be, is it possible to have two identities totally separated one from the other or that would be more a wish than what really happens?

    How many times have you been with your family and suddenly you see, listen or think about something that is directly connected to your professional life and immediately you get the idea for the next blog you are going to write?  This applies to many other positions in the enterprise. To all of them? I don't know. Maybe we need a poll to know better. 🙂

    Personally, I keep only one account on each social media network with both personal and professional contacts mixed; they are both part of my life after all. It's easier for me as I don't really need to hide anything from anyone. On the contrary, I believe it's simpler for anyone who really wants to know who I am, what I do and most importantly: how I think.

    If there is something I consider too private I simply don't share it anywhere, but this is not different in my real life where I just do the same.

    -Susan

     

  15. bolaji ojo
    December 28, 2011

    Prabhakar, What do you then when the two frontiers clash, that is, when your private life becomes a part of your business? This situation occurs more frequently today and it poses a dilemma for employers as well as employees. For instance, who owns the contact list an employee develops when that employee departs for a competitor?

  16. bolaji ojo
    December 28, 2011

    Susan, The approach you've adopted is one many professional writers have had to adopt — partly because we think our friends, family and audience too would be interested in what we do, what we write, what we think, etc. Perhaps they are but maybe a spouse, sibling, etc., would just like to be left out of discussions on the electronics supply chain even though it's being led by a family member.

    Over the years, like you, I have developed professional relationships that have turned into personal friendships. Many of these were people I worked with and who left my organization and we stayed in touch and our friendship deepened. I have added them to my social media connections and I am also on theirs. They often send me links to articles they wrote and I have a mixed reaction to this. A Facebook friend does this with every article he writes and it's beginning to irritate me because my professional interests have diverged from what he writes. While I would like to support him, I am often too busy to have my inbox cluttered with his blogs. Am I wrong in feeling this way?

  17. Nemos
    December 28, 2011

    Very interesting post and as I can see from the comments so far you trigger the interest of the readers also. Yes, I believe it is very difficult to have walls between your personal life and your business life, especially when you have to use social media as the Facebook is. However, we still can do it, and I think we always must have our personal life outside from our daily routine and work. And in particular, on Facebook we can set up two accounts with the same name.

  18. AnalyzeThis
    December 28, 2011

    @Hospice_Houngbo, right, Google+'s circle concept is a possible nice solution… but the problem is that not many people use Google+. So maybe people should just wait until Facebook rips off that idea because that sounds like it would be very helpful to many people in these situations.

  19. prabhakar_deosthali
    December 28, 2011

    Bolaji,

    In the pre-Social-media era  when such contact lists were part of an employee's personal diary, no employer dared to snatch that kind of data. Only the employee on his own will, to help his successor, would divulge such valuable information.  So why the social media should be anything different?

    Why not keep the ownership of data  with the creator and let his good descretion decide what to share with his employers, colleages, friends, family and kids.

  20. stochastic excursion
    December 28, 2011

    I agree, this worrisome turn of events should give people a heads-up that when they make their list of friends public, they are publishing a list of their friends and lose complete control.  Many people feel that there are benefits to that kind of exposure, others just tolerate it.

  21. itguyphil
    December 28, 2011

    Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and media strategist, argues that there is no such thing as social media. Check out his reasoning here.

  22. bolaji ojo
    December 28, 2011

    The argument by Gary Vaynerchuk that social media is just another way to describe the internet falls flat. The activities take place in some cases over the web but what happens in social media is more than your regular internet activity. This is not blogging, tweeting or whatever else is out there. This brings people together, gives them the chance to share information on an open or closed platform and takes the discussion into cyberspace but actually off the web.

    Gary should try to make his case to Google and other search engine services providers struggling to come to terms with the direct (and negative) impact of social media sites on their operations. So much of what happens on social media sites take place outside of the web and that is presenting a problem to Google and its search-engine competitors. Google's business requires it to help its audience make sense of the unwieldy web.

    This means Google has to be able to identify, catalog and categorize web information. In order to do this, Google has to be able to access the information posted on the web. The essence of social media is its “closed” nature in that the information shared by “friends” and “connections” cannot be accessed by search engines or bots; they exist outside of this. That's why Google is becoming frantic and that's why Facebook is getting the kind of advertising dollars it is receiving today (it is second to only Google.)

    Social media is not a platform like the internet. That is correct but it is not the web. It is not static or passive; it is very interactive and dynamic. That's a big difference.

  23. Alex Pohorily
    December 29, 2011

    The one thing I don't like about Linkedin, is that most of the activity chain is only made up of telling me who has recently conntected to who. Facebook is more interesting with the updates. It also helps me connect with people who work at the same company as me but are remote. I censor myself though on Facebook so as not to offend, as some of Facebook friends are in corporate leadership.

  24. FLYINGSCOT
    December 29, 2011

    Whilst I am not a user of Facebook (sorry folks) I look at the way many people do use it and I could consider it just like a plain old phone system …..but with added bells 😉  If I am at home I might get a phone call from a pal or from a work contact.  Alternatively I could be at work and get a call from my Mum.  In both cases I deal with the calls using the exact same phone system but with a different set of responses.  Social media is the modern phone system and so people need to meld everything into that system and deal with the different content accordingly.

  25. Taimoor Zubar
    December 29, 2011

    I think both LinkedIn and Facebook have their own merits and uses. LinkedIn is better and more reliable to find out professionals and be in touch with your colleagues and work-buddies, while Facebook is more casual and useful for personal interactions. They aren't substitutes for each other.

  26. Anne
    December 29, 2011

    My own view about Facebook and LinkedIn is that facebook lets teenagers document how many parties they have been to, so LinkedIn lets adults catalogue all the job titles they have acquired.

  27. JADEN
    December 29, 2011

    @Hospice_Houngbo,

    Indeed you are right, Google+ can help to seperate both the professional and personal use of social media needs.  You create your own cicle as many as you want.  It's like to putting the use of all other social media in one.

  28. Himanshugupta
    December 29, 2011

    After reading Bolaji's article, i also thought of Facebook vs LinkedIn. My opinion about both of them is very clear. Facebook is more for personal news feeds and contacts while LinkedIn is more interesting from professional point of view. Having said that, LinkedIn is clearly loosing out in the battle to Facebook due to its boring user interface and lack of interesting features. Hopefully, LinkedIn guy's are listening and they improve and add features that can bring in the A-game.

  29. Kunmi
    December 30, 2011

    I love linkedIn because it exposes you to professional groups. It looks more of business oriented site unlike the face book as the name implies which is more socio.

  30. Kunmi
    December 30, 2011

    Alex,

    Face book and LinkedIn are similar in fractional part but they perform different roles. Facebook is more into conncecting all available people that can log in and open an account but LinkedIn is geared towards the professionals accross the board. It is growing everyday and also growing fast! 

  31. Daniel
    December 30, 2011

    Kunmi, I don’t know the reason for why nobody is considering Google+ at this point of time. Before FB and Linkedin, orkut played a vital role in social networking space, especially in personal and professional circle.

  32. jbond
    December 30, 2011

    I think the line between business and personal in regards to social media is completely blurred. Even if you don't post things about work or particular companies who are promoting products, chances are some “friends” are doing it and you will see some of it posted on your page. At this point Facebook is a huge outlet for businesses looking to bring in customers. I know my husband will sometimes post a link to some sports articles that he has written on our Facebook page for friends to read, that in turn brings more traffic to the website.

  33. bolaji ojo
    December 30, 2011

    Jennifer, Have you had a situation where anyone has complained about postings to social media sites that they believe is inappropriate or was directed at the wrong audience? I suspect most people shrug this off.

  34. jbond
    December 30, 2011

    Bolaji, The only instances I can think of are generally people sending out spam or links to viruses. Even then it is usually just complaints on pages and not directing them at the sites administrators. I agree with you that most people just accept it and move on.

  35. bolaji ojo
    December 30, 2011

    A company has reportedly sued a former employee who took 17,000 twitter followers with him when he left. See: SC company sues ex-worker over Twitter followers.

    I wonder how the court will rule in this case.

  36. mario8a
    December 30, 2011

    I'll recommend to have separate lives, you cannot control what other people post on the network iether what acess they can have to personal lives.

  37. itguyphil
    December 31, 2011

    Bolaji,

    Excellent point. I actually recently watched an old conference screencast by Rand Fishkin, Founder of SEOMoz. He was stating that with the latest Google updates, they have begun to take a real look at the SM space and put preference on the SM data and interactions. For example, if I Like something on FB or uprank on Reddit, those factors will have an effect on other's search queries, independent of the organic SEO and marketing dollars pumped in.

  38. Tim Votapka
    January 2, 2012

    Bolaji's write up on the blurred social media lines is well presented. One way to keep things in the right buckets topically speaking is through Linked In groups. Whether you join one or start one, these forums are ideal for anyone interested in more segmented social media communication.

  39. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Rich, Little surprise you set yourself up as the “Lead Singer.” I always thought there was something special about your curbside singing skills. The decision to place me in the “astronaut corps” baffled me, though. I am one of those odd fellas who love traveling — on earth. Nothing about space fascinates me in terms of its exploration. I don't have a desire to visit the moon, mars, jupiter, saturn or any other planets and have no wish to meet up with a visiting alien.

    Which makes me conclude I would have to swap places with you!

  40. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Tvotapka, I feel less pressured with LinkedIn than with Facebook. Each time I visit LinkedIn, it's with expectations that the professional groups I am involved with would intellectually stimulate and encourage. It's good to see who's where, what they are doing and how they are progressing professionally. With Facebook, each trip to the site is with apprehension: what would my friends have posted (about themselves that I really don't care for), and who from the past wants to re-engage (often people that were once midly close but for whom I have not much affinity anymore)?

  41. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 3, 2012

    I prefer a divide between my personal and professional communications. I haven't quite figured out how to do this, but I've always viewed LinkedIn as a professional network and Facebook as personal. Twitter…I still don't know yet. And as appealing as Google+ is, I don't need another “Facebook”-type network (apologies to Google.)

  42. Tim Votapka
    January 3, 2012

    Yea, I'm in the same camp. Have made a few attempts to use Twitter, both personally and through the business. Neither one has generated anything worthwhile in terms of reaches other than one or two undesirable “so and so is now following you” notifications. And by undesirable I mean some stranger who is eager to find someone. Yea. Not going there!

  43. alawson
    January 3, 2012

    Great post Bolaji–timely and relevant. This is the perfect network of people to post this topic for dicussion. That decision alone is a hard one to make nowadays, given the reasons you and the other readers have unearthed.

    I am consantly having to decide where the line between personal and professional content should be drawn. It's a gray area really. But if you play in this space, you live in that gray area every day.

    Regardless of the social platform we are on (In my case, most all of them) I believe the most important consideration with every post, article, picture, etc. that we want to share should be its relevance to the intended audience. Even personally, you need to know your audience and be consistent with whatever messaging you choose.

    Its a follower's world of choice out there. Your followers show their appreciation with their time, shares, likes, and continued following. If they choose to unfollow even if your messaging is sound, then they probably weren't in your true relevant audience set to begin with. The same is true for offline personal and professional networks.

    I personally like the presentation of Google+ and 'Circles'. And though Facebook has tried to copy it, G+ is a place where I can house business and personal contacts equally and segment them at the share level without worry of past content privacy. Its got a long way to go, don't get me wrong, but I think its had a good start. I'm watching closely.

    Thanks again for the post.

     

  44. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Andy, You are probably better positioned to answer my next question. After writing the blog, I saw a news report in which a company sued a former employee for taking his “connections” with him to a different employer. The former employer wanted to charge $2.50 per connection, an amount that would have cost its ex-employee thousands. So, my questions are these: in your opinion, who owns the “friends” and “connections” an employee develops while working for a company and; What rights do both parties have to this valuable resource and how is the industry treating this subject?

  45. Susan Fourtané
    January 3, 2012

    Bolaji, 

    I suppose it depends on the friend you are considering for this example. It's a good question, though. Then we should determine if we are only going to read what goes hand in hand with our current interests or if we are also going to read some blogs or articles about other topics just because they were written by one of our friends and we want to support him. There is the time issue, as you well pointed out. 

    I have been in that situation and it's not an easy one. I also tend to read first what is of my professional interest. I guess we all like our writings to be read, especially to let our friends know what we are doing. But yes, it's true that not all our friends are interested in some of the topics we write. I have a very good friend who couldn't care less about tablets, the results of the electronics sales in 2011 or any other thing that you and I would consider interesting. So I don't really bother in sending her anything of the kind. If I write something related to science and medicine, or an app for diabetic patients I send it to her, she is a researcher on Type 1 Diabetes. 

    Maybe we have to be selective in both to whom we send our writings and what writings we read from our friends. 

    Another one of my friends didn't know who Steve Jobs was until he died so you can imagine her interest in anything I could write about Apple, Nokia or anything else technology related. On the other hand, she loves to read my articles about film festivals, arts and stories about Finland. 

    Our interests shape our friends' circles.

    -Susan 

     

  46. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Rich, You raised a set of important questions: What is the value of these “friends,” “connections,” postings and what kind of value can we place on the accuracy of the data generated via social media? Just as you could be the “lead singer” of some band and I could be in the “astronaut corps,” so could anyone develop a false personality on a social media site. At the corporate level also, it's quite possible for a company to create for itself an image that may be distinct from reality even if only barely so.

    You asked who should be tasked with the role of verifying information online. It comes down to the individual or the enterprise; government should not be in that business. I wonder if we all pad the image we present of ourselves online!

  47. Susan Fourtané
    January 3, 2012

    Bolaji, 

    I couldn't help reading your questions to Andy and here are my thoughts: 

    “who owns the “friends” and “connections” an employee develops while working for a company?” 

    When an employee manages to make his social media connections it's the same as if he would have been in a cocktail party exchanging business cards and adding those contacts to his address book. He owns his address book despite he is working for A. If next month he changes job and goes to work for B he still owns his address book and is free to do with his contacts whatever he wants. The company has no right to claim ownership of his contacts because the employee devoted his own time, effort, social skills and communication skills to build his list of contacts. 

    “What rights do both parties have to this valuable resource and how is the industry treating this subject?”

    If in good will the employee wishes to share his connections, the ones he developed in the virtual or real cocktail parties while working for his former employer, the employer should be grateful for this is an act of sharing. If the situation is one where the employee is actually being fired he might not be willing to share anything and instead keep his “address book” as his capital to add value to his next job application.

    It all depends on the individual case and this topic should be also treated from an ethical perspective.

    -Susan  

  48. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Susan, I largely agree with you but as you are aware social media is becoming integral to many companies' marketing initiative and they are, as a result, spending money on helping employees improve their skills and “connections” in this area. I cannot walk out with my employer's mailing list or cirulation list and many companies will take the same stand here. Is the employer going to have to set out the parameter for this engagement or will the court decide who owns what?

  49. alawson
    January 3, 2012

    Good questions, Bolaji. Ones that are hotly contested right now, even if most instances don't make the news. And the best answer I can give is, 'It Depends'. In this case, if you throw out the he said-she said of it all where he says they gave him permission to take the twitter account with him and they said they didn't, the underlying question remains.

    I would say that you should have written permission to take a Twitter account and its following if it was opened in the name of the company, such as the 'Phonedog_Noah' was. It is both his and the company's fault for not tying up that loose end as he was leaving or preferably, earlier.

    My thoughts would be different if it had been his Twitter account originally, said something like “thoughts on this account are my own”–a clear statement that the account was a personal account and should be treated differently. This is the standard for personal accounts in the business world and is of critical importance as the social channel is the largest personal branding platform that has ever existed. LinkedIn wrote the book on this.

    Bottom line: I think the days of ignorance of the power of social channels should be at an end. The company wouldn't have let this happen with an email account, would they? Or a client list? If you are going to authorize individual social accounts in a business, you should have your communication policies changed to include these types of accounts. That way, in the case of someone leaving the company, the lines are clear.

     

  50. bolaji ojo
    January 3, 2012

    Andy, I apologize for putting you on the spot again but I would really appreciate your insight on another issue, one which you touched upon in your last response. Many of us are on various social media outlets. I understand all these serve (sometime) different functions and purposes but in essence they are all the same.

    I am on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There are others out there. Today, a contact that is already on my Facebook and LinkedIn connections asked me to connect with him on Google+. Can one “over-connect” personally and professionally? Like many people, I don't have the time to stay on top of all these connections or even go to the sites each day. When companies encourage the use of all these connections, how should they advise workers to parcel out their time?

  51. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 4, 2012

    This is a great discussion and I have learned a lot from reading the message string. Like Bolaji, I have yet to figure out which network to use for what and I haven't consolidated them into a single “feed”. I know I can do this if I spend the time and I will. Unfortunately, what I've found out about social networks, which are supposed to make our lives easier, has actually made them more complex when you weigh the personal/professional boundaries.

  52. bolaji ojo
    January 4, 2012

    Barbara, I would suggest you hasten with deciding what you want to do with Social Media because so far companies have allowed employees to make this kind of decisions. I think very soon enterprises will start defining how, when, what and where their employees do with and on social media.

  53. alawson
    January 4, 2012

    No problem, Bolaji. Glad to throw my two cents around. This is the largest problem we face as content contributors. How do I keep up in the face of so much content?

    It is easy for an individual to say “I don't spend my time there” when asked to join a new network. But from the business side, and from a content creator perspective, it's a harder row to hoe. Where followers can choose where they want to spend their time, we in the business don't have the luxury of cutting out an audience. It is difficult and time-consuming, I agree. And the best we can do is…well, the best we can do. 

    And as for over-connecting? I think that's a question of bandwidth. There is a point that many groups (and even individuals) outsource the management of their social profile. I am not a fan, but it is the reason so many SM companies remain in existence. Groups like yours do it strictly to keep up with comments that can be posted in any one of 5 or 6 places.

    I think that, from a business perspective, a paid solution like Radian6, Argyle Social, or Sysomos is well worth the money. They save time, energy, and sometimes even your bottom line by 'seeing' the things that you may not and allowing you to get about as close to 'real time' management as one can get in this content-flooded world.

    I hope this helps.

     

  54. alawson
    January 4, 2012

    I think very soon enterprises will start defining how, when, what and where their employees do with and on social media.”

    I'll go one step further. I think that we will cease to use the term 'Social Media' because we will realize that the mediums are irrelevant.  Instead, we'll just accept that this is just how fast the world's information now moves.

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