Private or Public: Quandary For Job Seekers & Business Owners
Private or public? Social media created all kinds of new questions. Clients regularly wonder if they should be enter the world of social media or if they are already there, they wonder if they are going to be in trouble.

Q: “Should I be on LinkedIn? What if my employer sees me there?” My answer: If your employer is social media savvy at all, he will note that with 60 million+ users of LinkedIn, there are many who are not in job search mode. Some companies are encouraging their employees to have a LinkedIn presence. For sales professionals, it is a great way to build connections that could turn into relationships and then into future sales. If you are in a different field than sales, it is still a great way to build and remember professional connections that are valuable later.

Q: Facebook is dangerous, isn’t it? My answer: Anything is dangerous if you use it the wrong way. If your Facebook presence reflects you and gives you a human side then there is no reason to worry about being on Facebook. I have had people say, “I just want family and friends connected to me on Facebook. I’m not professional there.”

I understand, but generally most people who want to connect with you on Facebook are already connected to you some other way. I have both a Julie Walraven Facebook page and a Design Resumes Facebook page. Most of the time, the Design Resumes page is purely professional, with job search tips, my blog posts, and other bloggers I enjoy and want to share. On the Julie Walraven page, you are more likely to hear about Teddy (our German Shepherd) or my garden or some other facet of my life.

Facebook is totally different than LinkedIn. Interaction feels natural there. It feels that way on both of my pages but even more on the Julie page. I’ve had great conversations there and some of those have led to real life lunches and interaction with people I first “met” on Facebook. Who knows, someone you are talking with on Facebook could hold the key to your next position. However, if I want to talk to someone on Facebook, I can use the message inbox to talk privately if I don’t want everyone to read what I am saying.

Q: OK, I can deal with LinkedIn and even Facebook, but this Twitter thing, who wants followers?” My answer: Like Facebook, there is a right way and a wrong way to use Twitter. You want to be strategic in who you connect with and in how you converse. Conversation is the key to Twitter. People who broadcast or put up a profile and say nothing will not find Twitter beneficial to them. However, if you learn the ropes, you will find yourself having a pretty good time meeting new people and gaining valuable connections.

On Twitter, you could set the privacy limits but then people have to jump through hoops to connect with you and most people won’t bother. Any social media tool you use only has value if you use it to build relationships.

When you think about private or public in your job search or using social media in your business, realize that you are in control of what you say where and weigh if the potential connections outweigh your privacy concerns.

What do you think?