Author Topic: Facebook and professionalism  (Read 7171 times)

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Adelaide

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Facebook and professionalism
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:09:21 PM »
I am in law school now and we had one of the people from Student Life (also a lawyer) come in and talk to us about our online reputations. She stated that we all need Facebook, Twitter, and a LinkedIn accounts, and I thought her reasons for us having all three were valid.

But then she said that we need to think about our online persona and what kind of image we project. She discouraged posting "fuzzy kitten" pictures on Facebook and said that it should be strictly professional and should be more of a platform for political and business beliefs. I know there are people who do this, but I'm not one to plaster my political leanings/news stories I read on my Facebook, as this woman suggested we should do. However, I do keep things completely appropriate. I recently deleted everything that had any sort of swear word or inflammatory statement in it, and that was no easy task because I've had a Facebook since 2006. It's pretty much G-rated now, but I'm more likely to post a "look at the fuzzy bunny" status update than I am to post a "Look at these political pictures from Fallujah" update.

I can see where the line between my work life and my personal life is getting a little blurry on Facebook though-I am in an official University group for my law school and I have my previous employers listed as well. But I always considered my Facebook to be for personal things, like pictures I took or writing messages to family members who live across the country. If a prospective employer or colleague looks at my Facebook (and I have totally professional LinkedIn/Twitter accounts) will they really frown upon my using Facebook for strictly personal things? Should I have two Facebook accounts? Should I just delete my Facebook?

ydpubs

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 01:20:21 PM »
I would not link my FB to any work related persons or to my workplace at all. I consider it my personal link to friends and family.

If your work insists, I'd make a different FB account, not TOS compliant I know, but I refuse to merge the personal and professional accounts. NO WAY. I would resent being told how to post on my own FB wall.
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Chickadee

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 01:25:43 PM »
Huh, I just learned something new. I have never heard anyone say that a professional "should" have FB, Twitter, and LI. Linked-In, I can understand.

My Facebook is account is strictly personal, and I have my privacy settings quite high simply because it's my personal page. I don't post anything that I would be ashamed for anyone else to know, but I do tend to post about my political, religious, and social beliefs.

I also do not list where I am employed or anything about my work life at all, because I don't entirely trust that my privacy settings are all they I may hope they are. Also, I have a blanket policy that I do not Facebook friend anyone that I work with. Since it has been recommended to have several social media forums, perhaps it would be best to have a strictly personal FB page, and then another one for your professional persona.

Take all of this with a grain of salt, though, because FaceBook tends to frustrate the daylights out of me sometimes.  ;)

Adelaide

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 01:41:27 PM »
I would not link my FB to any work related persons or to my workplace at all. I consider it my personal link to friends and family.

If your work insists, I'd make a different FB account, not TOS compliant I know, but I refuse to merge the personal and professional accounts. NO WAY. I would resent being told how to post on my own FB wall.

Yeah I was pretty confused about why she wanted us to strictly use Facebook as a political/career-oriented platform, but she's out of the country right now so I don't have a chance to ask her to elaborate or I definitely would.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 02:34:19 PM »
I would take her statements as her personal beliefs because that is all they really are.  I have a few friends who do use Facebook for work marketing efforts.  So they have two accounts, a personal one and one focused on their prodessional endeavors like John Shutter Photography.  That is my personal belief on how Facebook should be used. 

kherbert05

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 03:37:10 PM »
I would not link my FB to any work related persons or to my workplace at all. I consider it my personal link to friends and family.

If your work insists, I'd make a different FB account, not TOS compliant I know, but I refuse to merge the personal and professional accounts. NO WAY. I would resent being told how to post on my own FB wall.

Yeah I was pretty confused about why she wanted us to strictly use Facebook as a political/career-oriented platform, but she's out of the country right now so I don't have a chance to ask her to elaborate or I definitely would.

Facebook is for family and friends. I don't post anything I wouldn't want the parents of my students to see - but I refuse to use it for work. We are being pressured into using it to communicate with parents I flat out told my administrators NO my facebook is for family and friends and I won't violate TOS to open a 2nd account.

Twitter for me is professional. I use it to communicate with my Professional Learning Community. I do post links to articles about legislation/rulings that impact education. I have 2 blogs one about teaching and one for my students to post their work.
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O'Dell

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 03:58:04 PM »
I have run into people that have FB accounts on FB and not on LinkedIn so if someone wants to connect with them, they'll want to do it thru FB. So I do think in some circumstances it can be useful to use FB for career purposes. Also some professional organizations I belong to have a stronger presence on FB.

Both my husband and I use Facebook for some professional purposes. He has one account and slots everyone on his friends list into groups. He's careful with what he posts for the professional group to see. I have a little used second account (Shhhhh....don't tell!!  8)) under my pen name and keep info separated and private that way. Either way works as long as you are keep the barriers between groups/accounts clear.
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SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 04:41:14 PM »
I think it is personal and should reflect who you are personally, but I would try to be generally professional - not regarding photos of cats, but as far as how you present yourself and your conduct. No tasteless jokes, no photos of you at a kegger, no photos of you partly dressed. Companies these days employ people to hunt down people's personal Facebook sites to find out about them. So maybe I'm somewhere in the middle on this?

GSNW

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 06:47:13 PM »
I have two lawyer friends that have dual accounts.  One is personal and completely locked down from the outside.  The other is "Jane Smith of Awesome Firm" and is more open, but neither accept personal friend requests to the "business" account. 

nrb80

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 07:14:43 PM »
Assuming you're looking at law firms - let me give you my perspective.  Before meeting you, I'm not going to google you because I don't want to know any personal details.  After, I might - I assume linkedin is going to be a slick resume / ad for yourself, twitter random thoughts, and facebook more personal.  I'm fine with fluffy cat pictures - actually I want to know you have a personality since if you're hired I will spend way too much time with you.  I don't care about political stuff unless obviously offensive - but that's probably not a wise bet because you don't know the stance of your interviewers, and there are likely interviewers on opposite sides.  I do care about bad judgment - I don't care if you party all night, I do care you place it on a network that is necessarily public. 

One thing that gets an auto ding - violations of TOS. 

Ceallach

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 10:51:34 PM »
I think it's smart to keep your facebook slightly clean - don't make your profile picture one of you blind drunk or in a trashy outfit, for example, and don't breach the rules, indicate illegal activity etc, general common sense.   But otherwise I agree with PPs, it's a personal account.   While something overtly bad could make you look bad, you don't need to keep it strictly professional or sanitised. 

To me, FB = personal, Linked In = profession, and Twitter = what???    ;D

I am careful not to post anything on FB that I wouldn't want screenshots of flying about the internet publicly, but I also don't let colleagues or professional contacts friend me on FB, it's strictly for family and friends. 
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NyaChan

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 12:13:29 AM »
We were told that if we absolutely wanted to use social networking to just make sure that we didn't have anything up that we would be unwilling to have printed on the front page of a newspaper.  In general, though the preferable thing according to them seemed to be to avoid having social networking sites available to the public, so FB should be as private as possible, but a professional networking site was ok to leave open.  I have deactivated FB & never had a twitter or linked in account.  I find it takes some of the stress of worrying that something might slip through unexpectedly away -- while really, my life is fairly tame, I like to prepare for the possibility that I might have a surprise, super crazy adventure at some point or another :P

StarFaerie

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 02:15:07 AM »
I work in a professional field (not law) and I disagree with that person on the Facebook thing.

My Facebook is my private page, it's not googleable and has it's privacy settings set to friends only for just about everything. I still keep it relatively clean though. I wouldn't post anything I was embarrassed about but at the same time I don't use it for professional purposes. My workplace is not listed in my profile. So fluffy kitties are fine, naked photos not so much, just in case they get off Facebook. And I don't like or join any groups that are controversial.

I have a twitter account but don't tweet, it's just there to allow me to keep up with government and legal developments as some departments do tweet stuff.

I haven't done LinkedIn as it isn't big in my country.

If you google my name all you get that is actually me are awards and the website for my employer. I check this regularly and curse the 20 year old party girl with the same name :D (who does luckily live in another country)

All I can do then is hope this is enough.


Isometric

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 02:35:29 AM »
I tend to agree that FB is for personal use. Unfortunately, I indeed do have a mix at the moment, people I've become friends with through work. Although I consider them friends, I still have to be comfortable with what I post on a professional level.

Of the people I know who have two FB's (a real estate agent and a model) they have a message on their private one re-directing to their professional page.

Venus193

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Re: Facebook and professionalism
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2012, 08:46:12 AM »
I disagree with your Student Life counselor.  You do need LinkedIn for professional use and you need to check out Twitter, but your FaceBook page is personal.

Which does not mean that some prospective employer won't look for it, in which case I think having political stuff on it is a seriously bad idea unless your privacy settings are at "paranoid" level so you can't be found.  In which case, a previous poster's policy of not FB "friending" colleagues is an excellent one.   

We hear all the time about people's FB activity coming back to bite them on the tush so I reiterate the previous comments about being careful what you post.  You never know when the privacy rules get changed and what could slip out.