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I am a newbie in a professional world and hence I have some new friends in my working area including some seniors.

So, we are also connected from a social networking site but the issues is I am connected to all the professional friends via my personal social networking id so that they can see my the my personal spaces also there.

Should there be a different id for all my professional contacts?

23

Almost definitely you should try to keep them separate. Unless you never post anything on your personal social-network accounts that you wouldn't want your professional contacts to see. For most people that is not the case. In fact there have been a number of high-profile stories about people being fired after a professional contact discovered "inappropriate" content on their personal social-network account. You don't want to be that guy.

And conversely, content that would be appropriate for your professional contacts might be boring as hell to your personal friends. You don't want to be that guy who bores his friends by posting his work stuff on his personal social networks, either.

I'd suggest that there is a natural solution to this problem. Social networks targeted to professionals exist. Use one (like linkedin) for all of your professional contacts. Use another (like facebook) for all of your personal contacts. Note that some crossover may exist, and of course you should be particularly careful about letting a professional contact cross over into your personal social network. Make sure you know and trust the person and that you have a good relationship with them first. There's less risk with respect to letting personal contacts cross over into your professional network.

  • When you say "have been a number of high-profile stories", which country are you referring to? Are you sure it's legal to fire someone for "inappropriate" content on personal social-network account? – Pacerier Jul 11 '15 at 7:34
  • @Pacerier - I was referring to stories out of the U.S., predominately. I think there may have also been one or two prominent ones in the UK, but I'm not positive. Obviously the legality varies by locale. Though even if it's not legal, a determined employer can get around that by simply telling you that they're dismissing you for some other reason. In practice, wrongful dismissal claims can be very difficult to prove. – aroth Jul 11 '15 at 16:20
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Personally I take a different approach...

I utilize social networking and media systems with the understanding that everything on the Internet is searchable and archived. Essentially if I don't want my boss to potentially learn something about me I simply don't post it.

I know this may seem restrictive to some, especially those of you who have grown up with technology such as myself. However, the realization is that to provide and create a professional reputation there is NO difference between personal and professional contacts.

For instance, your neighbors and family friends may not necessarily be viewed as professional contacts but when things are tough or you are looking for something new, they are often the first people you reach out to. Your friends need to know you are a good friend but they also need to know that if asked to recommend you for a job you are also a true professional.

So in my opinion no, use a single account. Just make sure you know what the implications are if you post a drunken picture of your latest spring break trip with the buds. This entire concept also goes back to a central idea of providing a personal brand for yourself.

  • 9
    to be fair...any employer who checks my facebook will not see anything blatantly illegal. Past that, if they keep looking and decide how I conduct myself during my personal, out-of-work life makes me unattractive to hire, then I say screw them. I don't need to work for any place that will not trust and respect the fact that I handle myself differently while at work compared to when I'm home with my friends. – acolyte Sep 11 '12 at 13:20
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    @acolyte That's fine that your different when you are at home, but if you work for me I don't want your Facebook profile linked to my company name if your Facebook profile contains nothing but pictures of you partying hard, especially if it starts showing up in search results for my company. Before Facebook existed this wasn't a problem as you would have to share physical photos with people. Again, it goes back to what your share and how you share it. – Brent Pabst Sep 11 '12 at 13:57
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    but I wouldn't link my facebook profile to a company in the first place. That's stupid. Work is work, and play is play. – acolyte Sep 11 '12 at 14:58
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    In todays world of web crawlers you really don't have to hard link anything. If a picture is posted of your an coworkers on Facebook that is public and your coworker has it in their profile, guess what, now the whole world can see it. Things are too interlinked to think that they will never show up against a professional search. – Brent Pabst Sep 11 '12 at 15:04
  • @acolyte that's the exact same approach that I take, I also do not list my employers on my facebook. I rarely post anything that interesting anyway! The issue I have had, is a 'friend' posting whole inappropriate things on my FB page and there being a lag before I can get it down. – Amy Sep 13 '12 at 7:31
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It is nearly impossible to completely separate professional and personal contacts. What happens when a friend comes to work at your company? What happens when you and some coworkers start hanging out together a lot and become friends?

Instead of trying to maintain separate identities, I recommend having one identity and moderating what you post. First, as Brent pointed out, anything you post on the Internet is public, so remember that when considering those compromising photos from that party you only barely remember. Second, instead of separate identities, use filters -- security groups, circles, whatever your social network calls them, decide which of your friends/followers/contacts can see what content and only make the safe stuff visible to the world. If your social network doesn't support security groups, get one that does -- there's really no excuse not to have that feature these days.

Remember, though, that rule 1 still applies -- you've posted something to the Internet, albeit under lock, and a single weak link -- that is, one gossipy member of a security group, or one person you've had a falling-out with -- stands between your secret and a wider audience.

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I try very hard to separate my online networks. You can use e.g. Facebook for your personal friends and LinkedIn for your professional contacts. Or you can use the segmentation features offered by some networks where you can organize contacts into groups and control who sees what.

Ultimately, it's up to you. Do you feel that your private persona and professional persona are similar enough that you can mix them freely? Does your personal social network contain anything that might reflect negatively on your professional persona? And remember, it's not just you that post on your social network, it's all your friends and contacts as well.

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    hmm..okay.i am thinking that have to create a another id on Facebook to add my professional friends.and remove them from personal. – Harshal Mahajan Sep 11 '12 at 7:47
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    @HarshalMahajan - Where I live, facebook is seen as a social site for personal contacts, and linkedin for professional. I don't know if there is a similar perception where you live, but it is something to keep in mind. – Oded Sep 11 '12 at 9:09
  • Separate networks is a good idea, especially if you keep your professional contacts on a network like LinkedIn that was designed for doing exactly that. – Carson63000 Sep 14 '12 at 6:31
  • @Oded, You're probably in U.S. then. Linkedin is a severe minority here, and both friends/colleagues ask for facebook. What would you do if there's only facebook and no linkedin in your country? Two Ids as Harshal described? – Pacerier Jul 11 '15 at 7:41

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