Sunday, March 29, 2009

My new social media policy

All social networks are not created equal.

I believe Facebook is for real-life friends (who you've met), LinkedIn is for professional contacts, and Twitter is to learn from the world (as much of it as you want). Determining who your blog audience is takes a whole different set of priorities. This blog, for instance, seeks to address family members and potential employers under the umbrella that life is full of learning experiences.

I created my Facebook profile in 2005. Back then, you checked each of your friend's pages individually on a daily basis to see if they had uploaded pictures. You viewed your own profile to see if anyone had written a comment on your wall. Life was simple.

After graduation, I said goodbye to Facebook. I naively assumed that the platform was for college kids who wanted to chat with one another with the world watching. Since I was all grown up, I decided it was time for a LinkedIn profile. On LinkedIn, I could stay in touch with my professors, mentors and employers.

Then I left the country for two years.

Much to my surprise, America greeted me in 2008 with people all a-twitter over microblogging. Even more shocking was the fact that my friend's parents were inviting me to be their Facebook friends.

Wait. What did professional adults have to do with Facebook? Afterall, the last Facebook group I joined in school was based on how many Chipotle burritos I could eat in one sitting. Facebook reminded me of my friend's birthdays, promoted my favorite movies, and hosted last weekend's photos in creatively titled albums.

Today, I think Facebook is out of control. I have invitations to: receive 'flair', find my look-alike, and create a pet society. Sure, there are invitations to support causes, but they're lost in all the ridiculous applications and clutter fed into my homepage.

Last week I thought about establishing my own befriending policy on Facebook. I think that a week is an appropriate amount of time to worry about a social media identity. That policy is at the begining of this post. I'm sorry if you met me at a PRSA networking event and want to see my photos from childhood. You belong in my LinkedIn network. I'm sorry if you were my friend at Thomas Worthington and we haven't seen one another in a professional setting in 5 years. You belong on Facebook.

There will come a day when all these networks will figure out how to play nicely with one another. Until then, lets chat on Twitter.

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