Being Mindful of What We Share, and With Whom
People like to hang out with people they have something in common with. There’s no harm in having the desire to share similar interests with people you like. These days, social media makes it much easier to expand our circles of friendships. Therefore, the decisions we make regarding what we allow others to see and be seen on social profiles can literally affect whole countries. The outrages in the Middle East over a simple YouTube video were a prime example. Even on a smaller scale, would you really want a prospective employer to read your posts on Facebook and Twitter? Everyone is on social media now. Even future bosses. That’s why social media profiling can save you from future grievances.
On that note, do you have your personal friends separated from work friends? If not, you should.
Social media has become so popular that for some, using Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, Model Mayhem, LinkedIn and other social networks has become an obsession. There are people who can’t manage life without it. Others like it just for promoting a business, showing off pictures of their kids (and doting about their accomplishments), while still another group may fall under the voyeuristic category; using social media as a way of spying on their fellow peers. However, most everyone has embraced and accepted social media as a normal way of life. That makes it even more necessary to segregate groups through social media profiling, so that we don’t share things we shouldn’t with the people who shouldn’t see them.
Separating the “socialistas” from VIP
Let’s say you’re going to a swanky nightclub. There is a big room for all the party-goers, but there’s also a smaller, select group of invited guests who make it to VIP. These “very important people” are the ones you want to hang out with, right? Every now and then you might make an appearance in the main area, but it feels good to be surrounded by selectively chosen peers.
Now, imagine that your numerous online social opportunities are like a nightclub. You probably wouldn’t invite your boss, your relatives (especially your nosy great aunt Tilda!) or some of your professional colleagues and/or clients. For this same reason, you might wish to reevaluate the strong desire to share beer stories or secrets with everyone on your profile list. Hence, instead of allowing everyone in your circle of friends, make select people “VIP” among certain groups.
Here are a few examples:
- You meet a professional working in a similar industry while you’re out and about. Which social media opportunity is best to connect with him or her? You might want to add them on LinkedIn initially, instead of sharing your FB profile with them.
- Likewise, if you’re meeting a photography enthusiast, then perhaps your Flicker and Instagram or Model Mayhem would be most appropriate.
- Then, a third person might represent an email and phone number exchange exclusively. There’s no way you want to include them on any of your social networks, unless you get to know each other better.
In general, you’ll have to “feel it out” and use your instinct to do the right thing.
There’s actually no right or wrong way to segregate your friends. It sounds like a horrible thing to do, but it’s actually a good thing. By keeping work, family, hobbies and special interests or other relationships separate from one another until you fully understand people’s motives, interactions and the reason for befriending you, it’s best not to offend anyone, whether you mean to or not. Treating everyone as VIP will enable you to sort their profiles into the right groups, so that you can stay in touch and keep networking together for as long as you like. Social media profiling is not meant to offend, segregate or have any racial connotations, it is merely meant to use as a tool to keep your groups manageable and organized within your many circles of social media.