Following-up on my post yesterday about separating Facebook friends from LinkedIn connections, I’m watching a debate brew in the United Kingdom and I’m curious why it hasn’t crossed the Atlantic.
About three weeks ago, and within days of each other, Jemima Kiss of the Guardian and Bryony Gordon of the Telegraph wrote about a press release they received from LinkedIn with an urging for web users not to accept networking invitations from frolleagues, who are colleagues sending friendship requests.
Claiming 1 million registered users in the UK, LinkedIn states that 47% of its users are abusing the friendship-colleague separation and it is becoming so common that the Oxford English Dictionary may add the neologism to its next edition.
Quoting the Guardian, LinkedIn “recommends that users keep a separate account for socialising so that business contacts don’t mix with friends, and should only add a colleague if they know them socially outside work.”
The social fabric would be thrown into pieces if each person maintains separate LinkedIn accounts unless if I link to one identity and choose which side of the identity to associate.
Unfortunately, my italicized idea is in the minority, for LinkedIn indicates survey results that 36% of workers are obligated to accept friend requests from colleagues and 73% want to keep them separate.
The Guardian continues, “Users need to be prepared to turn down requests from colleagues, must carefully consider the personal information they post online, and should explore and utilise the privacy settings on networking sites so that only trusted friends can access their profiles.”
Online references to the word, “frolleague,” are sparse.
Nancy Williams reminds me that the internet is a window to the world. “If you choose to leave the curtains wide open, exposing everyone to everything you do, then you have to expect there to be reputation repercussions.”
Paul Stallard agrees with that idea of controlling LinkedIn content seen by the world, and directs me to an article by Andy Coote, who writes, “In order to manage our online reputation effectively, we should think very seriously about what we release into the wild.”
Writing for a CNET Networks subsidiary about the issue, Steve Ranger speaks to Jo Bryant, an etiquette advisor at Debrett’s, who says, “Always employ your usual good manners when online. Work out who your true frolleagues are, and remember that social networking is meant to enhance your social and professional life, not obliterate it.”
Alan Parker writes of social networking being about sharing. I agree with him there, but I disagree that he should share contacts across multiple applications for the following two reasons:
- Facebook allows one to categorize contacts into groups and set security settings for each group. For instance, while I’ve added other bloggers I know to “My Facebook,” I restrict from seeing adolescent photos that I share with my high school friends.
LinkedIn does not enable groups or security settings on such a basis, and I don’t think it should, either.
- Facebook is built around the notion of communication, whether your friend is a classmate, family member, fellow church member, colleague, or stranger who you play some online game with.
Your LinkedIn network is one look for all and I think it should remain that way.
As Nancy says, “I don’t think that it is either realistic or desirable for there to be a total separation between your business life and your personal life, but I do think that we need to consider how we allow that crossover very carefully.”
For more reading:
- Avoiding the Online Popularity Contest to Seek a Deeper Connection – Jared Goralnick at Techno Theory
- How I use Social Networking – Dana Coffee at Crazee Geek Chick
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Business vs Personal – Joseph Steig at Half Full
- LinkedIn and Facebook Members: Do You Know Your Friends? – Copy-Cat Copywriting
- 2.0 Be or Not 2.0 Be – Matters of Little Consequence