Blurring the lines between social networks

We hear it over and over again: Nothing is truly "private" on the Web. But with the ability to set our profiles to "private," we still tend to feel invincible and post photos/wall posts we'd never want employers to see. 

With the continually-changing interconnectedness of the Web, social networks continue to let down their walls, and that sense of "privacy" starts to diminish.

So my New Years resolution proposal to you, from one student to another: make your Facebook page more professional. And after you've done that, make more industry connections in whatever your field is.

  • If you're active on Twitter and LinkedIn, your professional and social networks will begin to mesh
  • Be ready for the day when those lines begin to blur so you don't have to clean up after yourself
  • Untag photos that may get you in trouble
  • Delete wall posts from nagging/gossipy friends with profanity etc.
The meshing of social networks into one big, interconnected web (of both professional and personal/social) is inevitable.

When Myspace and Facebook were new to the Internet, they were competitive (and certainly still are today). But more and more, networks are finding ways to work together instead of against each other.

Examples:

 

Traditionally, social networks have been organized as follows:

  • Facebook = personal, social
  • Myspace = personal, social
  • LinkedIn = professional
  • Twitter = a mix of both

But those distinct lines are now blurring. When a professional LinkedIn connection added me as a friend on Facebook,  I was momentarily baffled about what to do. Decline the friend and risk losing a connection? That would make it as though I have something to hide.

It became obvious that eventually, it would come to the point where I have to push aside privacy concerns and start opening my Facebook up to the rest of the world. As recruiters turn to social media, I can't risk being anything less than professional. 

Now I'm starting to mesh my networks: my Twitter status is linked to my Facebook status -- something I'd resisted for a long time because I didn't think any of my personal, real-life friends would care about the same things as my Twitter followers.

As my Facebook expands beyond college and high school friends to include family (yes, the older generation is catching on), professionals and industry connections, Facebook is no longer about being social, but about maintaining and online identity and a personal brand.