Yvette is not a fan of social networks. "I think it makes you ubiquitous. And all it takes is one slip, one piece of information that shouldn't have been made public, and it becomes a big problem."
I, on the other hand like Facebook and Twitter. They deliver a lot of readers to our blog and it's been great re-connecting with friends and former colleagues I hadn't heard from in a long time. I like the witty banter and sometimes engaging discussions - more on those later.
While I have a LinkedIn account, I'm rarely on the site; it hasn't been helpful to me. "Funny that you ask, I have a LinkedIn story," replied a friend when I asked about social networks. "I had a conversation with a guy who took it upon himself to reach out to a friend's contact. He should've notified his friend first. It's all about relationships. What if his friend and the contact weren't on good terms? He could've aggravated the situation." He continued, "It's like going to someone's door and saying, "I'm a friend of Paul's. Mind if I come in?"
"Yvonne, please take that picture of me off your Facebook page," a friend emailed. The tone was firm but friendly. I took it off right away and learned a lesson - just because I thought it was a good picture doesn't mean she felt the same and it was her right to ask for it to be taken off. Thanks to her, I've learned to ask before posting. Most don't mind but some do. Amongst my friends there are some pretty good photographers. They clearly edit before posting and choose the best.
The world of social networking is still new and evolving everyday. We're making up our own rules as we go along. One could argue that once you sign up, you're fair game, maybe so but there's always room for consideration and common sense.
• Keep personal information and questions off walls and other public site areas. Everyone doesn't need to know the dates of your vacation and where you're going unless you want them to know. Beware, you could return to a furniture-free house.
• Respect your contacts' relationships, especially on professional sites. Ask before you seek help from their contacts. And if you haven’t been asked, don’t offer unsolicited criticism about a possible hire.
• Think before using a particular facebook app that lets you identify and post the whereabouts of a person without them even knowing. This is especially creepy and invasive.
• Let people know that you intend to post their pictures on your page, maybe they were supposed to be at work and not lounging on a beach in Bora Bora.
• If you want to post photos from a party, ask the host before you post. There may be hurt feelings for those who weren’t invited.
• If you're job or school hunting be very careful when it comes to voicing your opinion. Think twice about unflattering photos that seemed like a fun idea at the time. What goes on the internet is like a diamond - it lasts forever. You wouldn’t want to lose your Miss Universe crown.
• Be in agreement with your partner that it's all right if you post pictures of the two of you together. And that lovely couple you took a picture of and posted? Pray that one of them isn't married or otherwise involved with someone else.
So, how about it? Is social networking working for you?