Should I Connect?
Do you know who it is that you’re connecting with, or “friending” on social networks? In a research study, Sophos, a UK-based security firm created a Facebook profile with a congenial-looking toy frog and sent out successful friend requests to over 100 people. In both fields, it’s important to separate personal vs. professional connections. You don’t want that personal connection to reflect badly on you.
Security Guru’s POV
How do you know that the person wanting to friend you or sending you that email is really who he or she claims to be? I believe it’s important to build a network of business and personal connections. However, don’t assume that profile picture is really a picture of the person who has the profile. Check out this blogger’s advice on detecting fake profiles on Facebook.
Career Sherpa’s POV
Fear of the unknown is normal and you need to be cautious as the security guru advises, however, let down your hair a bit, especially if you are using Twitter or Google+, both of which are more open forums.
You should have your own set of criteria for accepting invitations on LinkedIn and who you decide to follow on Twitter and accept as a Friend on Facebook. You may have a different set of connections across the different platforms, however, I hope you consider taking your online connections to the next level and build a professional relationship for greater camaraderie.
And just as you have pre-determined criteria for accepting people into your network, so do others. Be respectful of their decisions and how they use the platform. There are no hard and fast rules on how often or with whom you should share (though Spam is never appreciated).
Move beyond lurking (just watching on the sidelines) and begin interacting by sharing information others may deem helpful and reaching out to others to lend a virtual hand. Just as in real life, you want to continue to expand and nurture your virtual network so you are learning new things and meeting new people.
You may have noticed that your personal and professional lives are more closely intertwined. Keep an open mind to this co-mingling but also know what that can mean for your privacy.