Although there are many differences between social and professional networking, the two are merging more than ever.
A driving factor has been remote work, which is increasing the interest, need and value of social networking–a shared observation by attendees of the DLE’s recent What Makes Great Social Networking? program.
The hot trending topic of social networking was derived from DLE polls of community members over the past six months. The inclusive conversation explored the opportunities and complications of various practices for social and professional networking. Key topics and takeaways from the program included:
How do we differentiate between social networking vs. professional networking? Where do they overlap?
Attendees agreed that platforms such as LinkedIn are better for professional networking. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are considered better for social networking. However, all of these platforms can bleed into each other. For example, one could start out having a personal account on a social media platform, but over time, may decide to transform the account into a business page. Conversely, one could start with a professional page, then slowly start to show their personality through more personal posts.
Are there ground rules for social media?
Group consensus underscored the importance of understanding what is appropriate to post personally versus what is appropriate to post professionally. For example, posting photos from a night out with your friends works on a personal account, but can send red flags on a professional account if viewed by a boss or customer who finds it inappropriate. Another prickly matter are public posts by a friend–which include your image or comments–made without your consent. It is important to communicate your standards to others and adjust settings accordingly to mitigate surprise posts by others.
The impact of social media on social/professional interaction
Although social media has become a way to network outside of personal interactions, it has definitely had an impact on how we act in person. Many attendees considered their social media pages to be a genuine representation of their personality. They agreed it is important to not get lost in trying to be who you want to project. This can become conflicting, depending on how you want to appear to different people. With the normalization of working remotely, this has changed the dynamic of how colleagues see each other and interact. One participant noted, “My sleeping space is the same as my workspace and my creative space, and that is something I’m trying to change.” With so many remote workers, some are starting to feel the impact of conducting work from their home–an environment for many that is typically meant to be an exit from work.