My longtime media friend and product reviewer David Strom recently wrote a post on his blog titled, “When to defriend and defollow.” It struck me at this point that my own Facebook network had grown to upwards of 400 people and my LinkedIn network was nearly 350 people. Certainly no Ashton Kutcher Twitter following, but still, I was surprised how quickly things had grown over the years.
I tend to keep the two networks very separate – there’s probably less than 10 percent crossover between who I connect with on Facebook and who I link up with on LinkedIn. I view the small percentage where there is crossover as my per-fessional network – that gray area between the very personal and the strictly professional relationships that we manage in our lives. Each person has their own philosophy/opinion of how they want to manage these relationships. Regardless of how they are managed, there are times when the personal crosses over to the professional, and vice-a-versa. The key is understanding the extent to which you allow relationships to cross over.
I think it’s best to divide the two into strict buckets first, and from there build out the “per-fessional” network over time. I also know that I tend to add more people to my LinkedIn network, and be overly selective in the world of Facebook. There are just too many wildcards on Facebook when it comes to features like tagging, commenting and so on. As for twitter, that’s an entirely different world altogether. You may never want to be buddies with someone, and yet have an amazing professional affiliation with someone. At the same time, there are people in your personal life that you simply would not or could not extend to your professional circles. Social media is both an enabler and an inhibitor of per-fessional networking.
As an interesting side note, I recently announced on my Facebook status that I was “pruning” my friends list. I was shocked how many people came out of the woodwork asking whether or not they would make the list (thanks David for posting my comment to your blog).
In the end, I only de-friended two people. Not sure what that says, but I really thought the list would be longer.
How do you manage your online identity? We’d love to hear about it.