I admit it – I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.
I log on in the morning to see what friends were up to the night before. I ask silly questions (recently, what was the name of the movie starring Ted Danson back in the 80s where Ted was buried up to his neck in sand – and I got the answer just a few moments later!), I post updates about my running, and I do a lot of responding.
I do, however, keep my private life fairly private. I don’t talk about my home life much, unless it is something as simple as “The girls slept in today, yay!” or “The parent conference went well!” I feel it is my duty to keep what happens in our home fairly private, as I wouldn’t want my family going onto the computer and posting personal things about my life.
In addition, I find it interesting when I read very personal posts on these social tools. It almost makes me cringe to see someone complain about a loved one, and I’ve noticed a growing trend lately among those posts and tweets and blogs I follow: The person is writing when they are supposed to be working.
This week, after reading another update from someone who I knew was at work but who was posting through their mobile phone during company time, I began to wonder about the consequences of social networking and the career. Social networking is still so new I think we are only now learning the future issues we may find by using this tool. All entries are timestamped, which means if you are typing when you should be working anyone can trace this back to you. In addition, the comments remain out there forever – so once you say you are hating your job today, while you are at your job, your employer may one day stumble upon this fact.
While these sites were designed to bring us all together – meet up with old friends, keep acquainted with coworkers and family members, remain in touch with people in high school (some of whom we don’t even really remember – or want to remember!) – I have to wonder if down the road we won’t find that it actually drives us apart.
Kurt Weyerhauser, managing partner at Kensington-Stone, an executive search firm that finds and evaluates and places senior management, says, “It use to be that our private and work lives remained separate with clear defining lines.” That’s not the case with the latest social networking tools.
Think about it – each night we can log on to find how many cows Junie lost from her virtual farm, how much time Joe spends playing certain games instead of hanging out with his family, and what Jessica fixed for dinner/read her kids before bed/drank before she retired for the night.
Do we need this much information about the people in our office? Probably not.