Thursday, June 2, 2011

To Facebook, or not to Facebook...

I’m caught in a dilemma over Facebook. I’ve been working on my portfolio – JSTrufant.com – a lot lately, and thus have been considering my professional image. I know the prevalence of social media will play into my image, and I recognize the potential danger in having a Facebook – especially when a whole slew of friends, family, classmates, coworkers, and acquaintances have the ability to view and/or post anything they want.

I mean, it’s not like I’m posting vulgar statuses or photos of myself doing keg stands. Since college, I’ve become very conscious and aware of what things I share through Facebook. But it’s still awkward, especially with coworkers. There’s a certain way you present yourself at work, and I feel that there’s boundaries that aren’t supposed to be crossed. For example, do I really want someone from work to see pictures of me in a bikini on vacation? I think things like that have an overall negative effect on one’s professional persona, especially for women.

Plus, with the competitiveness of the job market, why risk a bad impression? Everyone’s different, and everyone has his or her own preferences, pet peeves, and so on. Even a friend posting a slightly distasteful joke on your wall can rub someone the wrong way, enough that he or she chooses not to hire you.

There’s ways around it, I know I know. You can always just not accept friend requests from coworkers. But that’s even more awkward, and it kind of suggests that you’re hiding something. There are also privacy settings that make it nearly impossible for someone to find you on the Book. But then, really, what’s the point if no one can find you? There are those lists that make it possible to hide certain information from specific groups of people. Really though, who has time for that?

You can always have two facebooks, too. One for personal reasons, and one for professional reasons. Or you could just not have Facebook all together.

But I will say that the Book has some value in the work place, for certain fields at least. I mentioned before that I’ve gotten in touch with people for stories through Facebook when all else failed. The person was on vacation (he actually was on the chairlift that fell at Sugarloaf, and was still there skiing) and there was no way for me to get his cell phone number. But with smart phones, most everyone who has a Facebook has access to it through the Facebook app. So I went ahead and looked the guy up on Facebook, and sent him a message. A few hours later I had the interview.

Thoughts?