As I noted in my last post, I’m going to be noodling around a bit with the idea of personal/professional boundaries on Facebook.
Th topic came up last week at a meeting of the American Health Care Journalists, where several guest speakers were discussing ways of using social networking tools for reporting.
It was an uncomfortable conversation. A lot of people get on Facebook initially for personal reasons – to get back in touch with old friends, for instance, or to share photos and videos with family. The idea of using Facebook for professional reasons – e.g., to network with other colleagues or publicize one’s own work – means we could end up mingling personal and professional in a new — and not-so-comfortable — way.
I.e., if we’re going to use our Facebook pages to, say, publicize a book, do we really want all our “friends” seeing pictures of the baby in the bathtub? Likewise, if we’re mostly trying to network with other colleagues, should we posting status updates that advertise how lazy we feel that day? Or how cute the 7 year old’s new hamster is? And if our audience starts getting really big (which could be the goal), do we really want a high school friend posting a note on our wall about that time we skipped school, headed up to the town reservoir and…fill in the blank?
I don’t think so.
Next Up: Why the personal/professional boundary is particularly hard in some professions.