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CES Day 5: The personal and professional

January 12, 2009
Yesterday was CES’s final day. I have physically landed on the east coast, but my heart and mind are still on CES. Here are a few bits to conclude the last day:

Many people ask and wonder if and how to create the separation between their professional and personal networks. There are many tools built into social and professional networks to allow users to determine which group of users sees what content. Interestingly so, there is a growing notion in the social media world, advising not to keep the two totally separated, the perception that was common up until now was friends on Facebook, colleagues and professional connections – on LinkedIn. This perception is no longer the absolute one.

One of the biggest underlying themes in this year’s CES Social Media Jungle and Digital Hollywood sessions was the borderline, or lackthereof, between professional and personal in the online world. Jeff Pulver, Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble – the stars of Social Media who you can find on all social networks tweeing, discussing, sharing major thought pieces about the state of online media. But one can also find them mentioning a show they went to, a good restaurant, a moment of happiness/frustration or when they are are stuck in traffic. They accept friends and colleagues and alumni and followers to their twitter/Facebook/linkedin/myspace network. In fact I have heard from most Social Media attendees and speakers they are using Facebook more and more for business. This might be due to Facebook easy and fun tools (such as events and better ‘groups’ functionality) as well as the fact that, well, everyone is one facebook – 120 million more users than LinkedIn. Also, as LinkedIn has not managed – despite great developments and user-base growth – to grow beyond a ‘find a job’ tool. This of course does not mean everyone will now be doing professional networking on Facebook – only indicate there is a shift of some sort in the market – could be technical (access more users, easy of use) can be behavioral (less separation between professional and personal).

Sharing professional and social info with one’s professional and social connections gives a better way to broadcast your message to many people, and strengthen your online presence and relationships, and it also gives a more holistic view of a person and allows a much more interesting and fun way to communicate with your friends, colleagues, etc – a connection between two or more people is much more stronger when they share a personal experience, interest or emotion.

There is no rule or template that say what to share and what not to share, and where that line between professional and personal draws. In Social Media Jungle session Robert Scoble pointed out it’s each to their own. When making that decision of how much to expose, the key thing to realize that having some personal peppered into you professional, can actually serve you more than you think.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2009 8:37 pm

    Some time ago a client joked with me that they had a “bring your kid to work” day, but perhaps they should have a “bring yourself to work” day too! How much of your personal life belongs in the professional setting has been a conundrum long before Web 2.0 existed.

    I say be yourself wherever you are – we are first and foremost human beings. Personally I find the whole person a lot more interesting. Besides, the separation is artificial. Perhaps the world would work a lot better if we stopped trying to be automotons in the professional world. There is a lot more room for people’s humanity within many organizations these days and I think that is a good thing. So why not continue the trend and keep it real in social media? If people aren’t interested in what you have to share they don’t have to listen and in this world the choice to listen or not is a heck of a lot easier.

  2. January 14, 2009 11:31 pm

    Great post. I wish I could have made it to CES this year.

    I frequently hear this question about personal and professional networks and wonder what people are doing on Facebook that his/her boss, customer or colleague would find embarrassing. We’ve all had the Internet for a few years now and shouldn’t we learned to be careful what we share?

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