It took quite a while and a whole lot of resistance, but three weeks ago, I signed up for Facebook as an additional means for me to expand my network and general branding. I had avoided Facebook because I was worried its application was less professional and sophisticated than what I was already using. Moreover, already on Twitter and LinkedIn for sometime, it did not make sense for me to add anything else because I really did not want to be too preoccupied with social networking management.
Nonetheless, one of my best friends entreated me to try it—and I have to say I have really enjoyed the experience so far and am amazed at its potential. But I do have some warnings about the pitfalls that one (including me) can easily fall into. I think I can assume that most professionals are aware that it is not advisable to post anything questionable because employers will do background checks for anything dubious. Scrupulously, I naturally only posted my professional profile picture and some of my favorite pictures of me with the kids. Still I could not anticipate what happened to me once I did sign up. The majority of my Facebook friends were old high school friends from twenty years ago. In high school, I was a prankster—and it was not long before I allowed myself to regress to my high school mind set in my Facebook interactions. There are countless silly applications on Facebook. You can pass around a drink, throw snowballs, invite others to play online games, kidnap others, give hugs, kisses, and somethings that I think are unmentionable. And in the three weeks that I have been on Facebook, all of these things happened to me. So much for maintaining a professional image. This in part was the inspiration for me to do my last post on being as mad as hell–a voice that was certainly more alive in me as a teenager.
Fortunately, one can do a few things to escape this miry mess. I have included a few that I am aware of:
- Create more than one profile, and have one profile that is strictly professional, restricting access to your other profiles.
- In the Facebook controls, you can control what information gets posted on your wall and broadcasted to others. If you do not want the rest of the world to know that you completed a drug deal in the game Mob Wars, simply deactivate the posts so that this information is not broadcast. Additionally, all posts can be deleted—so if you forgot to exclude an inappropriate post, you can still erase it before it becomes damaging.
- You can “hide” from individuals who you do not want to associate with your Facebook profile.
Now if only someone could advise me on dealing with the present addiction I have with some of these games my friends relentlessly invite me to.