We’ve all read or heard the news stories this year about people losing their jobs due to postings, pictures, or comments on various Social Media sites. Agree with it or not, it’s become a fact of life here in America and to a lesser extent around the world; the fine line between personal and professional life has blurred and is fading away.
All of this was brought home to me last week when interviewing for a position here in Atlanta. The interview was going well and we were at the point of setting up the next round with the CEO when the interviewer asked me provide a list of my Social Media pages, blogs, and twitter accounts. Not a problem, this is exactly what LinkedIn is for so I immediately rattled off the public URL for my LinkedIn account and waited patiently for him to write it down.
I continued waiting, as did he; pen to paper when he prompted me for my Facebook, MySpace, and any other personal pages as well.
Now you have to understand that I’ve worked hard to keep my personal life and professional life separate on the net. To me Facebook is personal and LinkedIn is professional and for the most part “never the twain shall meet”; yes there are a select few that are both ‘Friends’ and ‘Connections’ but they are rare. Actually that’s not quite fair to say: if you’re a friend (Facebook or otherwise) and on LinkedIn as well then I’m likely to connect with you. But valued LinkedIn connection please don’t be offended if I didn’t automatically ‘Friend’ you.
I don’t do this so that I can rant, rave, moan, and complaint about my work life to all my friends. I do this because it’s my right to decide what, when, how and more importantly if I want to share something personal with professional associates.
Needless to say my explanation and polite refusal to provide this information kept me from meeting with the CEO and of course getting the job.
So ‘Friends’ and ‘Connections’, where do you draw the line?