Personal Social Networking Rules

400+ million users on Facebook and 100+ million users on Twitter, social networking is becoming more prominent and more invasive. This medium has grown so quickly and we’re all eager and willing to pick up the technology and use it.

Some of us, whether it be inherently or actually spelled out, set up rules for ourselves, our brands, that we adhere to when it comes to posting. I have always had a set of posting rules in place for my social presence. The rules were always just in my head. So, I decided to spell them out for you to see if you agree with them or not, or just to inform you what you will not see from me.

    I am a fairly political person. I enjoy having critical discussions on the nature of government and social change with my friends and family. I make an effort to respect the opinions of others and enjoy learning new points of view. However, I will not speak/post about any sort of political subject on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s not beneficial to me. Plus, that’s not what I’m all about. I’m a designer, social media guru, music and art lover. Those subjects are what I post about.

    Talking politics has become such an intense practice, especially as of late. It polarizes people, it alienates opinions and encourages confrontation. That’s not what I am about. I encourage opinions, knowledge and engagement. I see no real benefit to post about politics unless you want to get into an argument; and I don’t want to do that.

    Oh boy, this topic is just as polarizing and intense as politics. I am a spiritual person, and that is probably the last you’ll hear of it. I respect other people’s beliefs by not speaking about beliefs.

    Social networking tends to be a “happy” place. From what I’ve noticed in the 5+ years I’ve been on social networking sites, is that the environment promotes positivity. No one likes an angry person, so no one likes an angry extension of person. I’m not saying I won’t be critical, I’m saying that you can be critical without being negative. No fights, no swearing and no alienating other users.

    Personal Adventures:
    Yes, I check in on Foursquare at the venues I go to (not all of them though). I inform my followers of the networking events I attend. However, I believe a disconnect from social networking sometimes is needed (at least for myself). I don’t think that everyone needs to know about all of my adventures when I’m out and about, nor do they probably want to read it. So, with that said, certain times I don’t bring up what I’m doing, where I am or who I am with. It’s nice to unplug a bit and it’s certainly great to keep some adventures for yourself.

    Please RT me. Do you need design services? Do you need social media services? I don’t like to receive these via Direct Message or via spam bots. I’m sure that if people want those services from anyone, they’ll do their due diligence and find out the companies with the right fit. I do like to promote my blog content and stuff, that’s just because I think it’s a good read. But you won’t find me trying to pitch you my services. I know, that may sound like I’m not a good marketer, but that’s not what my accounts are set up to do.

    Automated Feeds:
    Why do you want to go to Facebook and read something that is on Twitter, or vice versa? The content that I choose to push through my tied in accounts are pushed through for a reason. Not just to post something, but to post something of substance. The use of linked and feed accounts are only for ease of use and workflow, not to just push content. When I post something, and a user replies, you’ll be sure that I’ll reply to it. There is always a reason behind my madness.

    Job Seeking:
    Yes, I’m looking for a job. I have been looking for a job for quite a while now. I have integrity and I’m a little proud I guess. I won’t outright ask users for a job. I won’t randomly post “Leif Fescenmeyer #design #socialmedia #chicago #milwaukee #lookingforwork” or something like that. It just feels to me that it’s a little desperate and a little too vague. Plus, if I were to look for a job in social media, using social media like that; it obviously shows I don’t know what social media is. (PS> But, if you do want to talk about an interview, I’m not against that. Ha Ha…)

    This is a big one! We all have concerns over our privacy. If you want users to respect your privacy, respect theirs. Posting of photos that I wouldn’t want posted of me, retweeting protected users, and handing out contact information are all against my rules. Granted, I may break this rule from time to time, but rest assured it was not on purpose and I try to make sure if/what I post about others is vetted by that user first.

Keep in mind that we all are fallible. Yes, these are my rules and rules are sometimes broken by mistake. So, let’s just say I try my best to adhere to these guidelines.

What guidelines to you adhere to? Do you disagree with any of mine? (Remember, to disagree doesn’t always mean you have to be negative.)

8 Replies to “Personal Social Networking Rules”

  1. I agree with all of your thoughts, especially regarding politics and religion. Regrettably, those types of topics can hinder someone’s view of another and for the sake of both parties, it should be left for personal conversations.

    I also agree that one must regulate what they write and more importantly, be smart. Foursquare and Facebook are great ways to network however they can easily incriminate someone as well. Keep some things private – I can assure you that people are watching. Especially watch what you write/post/etc if you are seeking new work.

    On a final note, I don’t believe you asked permission to use my photo. I see a terrible professional photo on your LinkedIn screen capture… LOL.

    1. Yes, political and religious conversations can quickly add to negative equity in personal and brand presence online. I, personally, like to keep them away from a public, online forum.

      It really is about personal responsibility when it comes to posting location based information, personal activities and media. Act smart, post smart. There is an adage out there that you don’t want to post anything online that you don’t want your grandmother to see. I take that a step further; don’t post anything online you don’t want your boss to see. That thought has done me a great service. I’m not saying you can’t post things that are fun and light hearted (that goes to personality), just make sure that content is always SFW.

      You mean the photo of you that is about 20px large and bitmapped out? Isn’t that part of the public domain now anyway? LOL.

  2. For myself, I disagree with avoiding politics and religion. I keep that off of my professional connection sites (LinkedIn), but I have no issue posting it to Facebook. This is for two reasons – first, I don’t have any FB connections that are professionally related, and the second is that I don’t expect people to agree with me. I’ve had some great (and not so great) conversations about those topics on social media, and I don’t mind the discourse as I’m not expecting for everyone to rubber stamp my ideas. But, again, I’m careful to draw the line between my professional and social lives.

    As for job hunting, I was told over and over by career counselors to let people know that I was looking for a job. Since connections are often important in landing a job, I was constantly reminding those around me that I was looking for something. A connection might hear of a job, but if I haven’t let them know I’m looking then they won’t know to refer me. Whether or not social media is a good outlet is probably up to the individual, but I used it!

    1. It’s true that some users don’t mind discussing politics or religion on their sites, and that is completely fine so long as you are a user (such as yourself) that understands the limitations of such discourse and the inherent risk in doing so. Most users draw lines in the sand when it comes to adding connections on various social sites and that is due to the content they post on those sites. Personally, I have a strategy in place for all the sites and I try not to deviate from that regardless of the connections I have on those sites. It is just one of those things that I do personally, I don’t expect others to follow suit. Keep on keepin on!

      And the job hunting bit; it is a crazy rule I have in place for that, I know. I do engage with users who specifically post jobs, but I don’t blindly throw myself out in the masses without having a game plan in mind. (I should have clarified that a bit in the post — sorry.) I have gained many fruitful clients and contract jobs through social channels, but not that golden fleece job–just yet. 🙂 (Oh, and congrats again on the job you got! Hanging out in MKE are we?)

  3. Yes, hanging out in MKE…sort of. I work in a southern suburb, and now live in the County that I orginated from, but I get to hit-up MKE for meetings, networking and whatnot. I really do miss Dane County, though.

    1. Very cool! I can see you missing Dane Co, you loved it there. But, SE Wisco has many fun offerings as well, as I’m sure you’re aware of.

      (BTW: I love the vagueness of your locations. LOL)

      1. Of course I’m vague. The whole point of this blog post was about not oversharing on the interwebs.

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