A professional acquaintance had connected with me on Facebook recently. While I try to keep my professional & private live separate, I often allow the rules to relax. Perhaps opening up my Facebook wall to him would improve my professional connect with him. Last evening I saw a rather disturbing post on his wall, something to do with minorities and why they should leave India. Reading it made me do something uncharacteristic, I hit the “unfriend” button, denying the attention his post didn’t deserve. While it would be naive to judge him based on a post and let it affect the professional relationship, human minds don’t work that way. Emotions are more deep rooted than reasoning.
Facebook has connected us with almost everyone we know; kindergarten playmates to a stranger we met for five minutes five years ago at a friend’s farmhouse party. Often we allow our personal & professional lives collide. Sharing something funny or insignificant with them in your wall is fine but things begin to get precarious when we start sharing our political biases, religious beliefs and all that is divisive; things that make you hate someone in seconds!
The question I am asking you is this : Will you ever have a professional relationship with a person you locked horns with on a sensitive topic – something personal to you – on social media? Social Collaboration is one of the fastest growing market opportunities today but this social collaboration when goes uncontrolled at a personal level begin to break professional relationships. I know many fellow managers who say they will never allow their teams to be connected with them on Facebook.
In a connected world, professional & private worlds are bound to collide. My simple recommendation to any professional, who is worried about his or her personal branding, being a cat on the wall on sensitive matters is better than sitting with your face in the palm in regret!