Take Mr. Das. He joined Facebook on a whim after receiving invitations from friends. He then tried to leave after realizing that most of his coworkers were also on the site.
"I work in a small office. The last thing I want is people going on there and checking out my private life," he said. "I did not want to be on it after junior associates at work whom I have to manage saw my stuff."
But Mr. Das is missing the point. A "social" network is about being "social." It's about being transparent in who you are, your likes, your dislikes. It humanizes you for the rest of us. Sure, there are things you may not want to be public, so just use common sense about what you post.
Managers like you should welcome social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo into the workplace. Not only are they tools for colleagues to interact with you and build relationships with one another, but having them viewable by the public makes your company seem more approachable and engaging.
To a certain extent, having a Facebook page is like allowing others to see your desk at work. No, not the pile of papers, but the "stuff" that is unique to you - the pictures of your wife and kids, the shot of you and your buddies skiing in Park City last year. You know, the things that make your space your own!
If the problem is too many requests, well Facebook hears you. The site just launched a feature that will allow you to "ignore all" request made. Now I am not suggesting you go that far, but that might ease your pain.
Where's the Buzz? By now, everyone reading this should at least have a personal Facebook or LinkedIn page. If you don't, get to work. It is beneficial to you, your company and your network to do so. Participate as much as you wish. There are no rules for how many posting you should have or not have. And be smart. Don't post things you wouldn't want your mom to see or read.
Social networking is not that hard. But like the lottery, you have to buy a ticket to win at it.
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