LinkedIn, Naymz, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, VisualCV and the list goes on and on and on. Studies, reports, polls and surveys on the subject of social vs. professional online networking sites are as prolific as those on work-life balance or the skills and talent shortage! In a recent Globe and Mail poll, 84% of over 5000 respondents said they would not add their boss to their friends on Facebook. In a Vault survey, 82% of employers said their decision to hire a job candidate would be affected by something they perceived as negative in an online site. A survey by Gartner suggests sites such as Facebook and MySpace are used for fun and entertainment, rather than business but that should change.
“Social networking software holds enormous potential for improving the management of large companies,” said Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner. “However, work in this area is still immature and in the meantime companies should be aware of what is happening in the world of consumer social networking and implement appropriate usage policies for employees’ use of services such as Facebook and MySpace on company time.”
Your “personal presentation”, whether online or face-to-face, whether on a social networking site or a professional networking site, whether on a video or in a photo, should be “appropriate” and acceptable” and should not include anything that you yourself would consider to be offensive or negative to anyone. If you have personal preferences, ideas or issues that you do not believe would be understood or shared by others, keep them to yourself, use your private email or join a group of like-minded individuals. It is only common courtesy to avoid discussing issues that could have the potential to offend others so why do it “publicly” online? Your reputation may not concern you today but you can be assured the day will come when it has an influence on your success or lack of success.