I am a son, grandson, brother, cousin, employee (and past/future employee), colleague, business partner, former student, alumnus, donor, friend, acquaintance. Perhaps more, if I think about it.
I define myself as a friend and high school classmate through social circles, and as an employee through my professional side. With the Internet, and the advent of Web 2.0 online networking sites in particular, I portray myself differently depending on the audience and my motivation. The two sides don’t typically merge unless I’m having some party and invite both friends and colleagues. With the limited dimensionality of websites, I try to maintain a difference between my online profile at Facebook or Myspace which is socially oriented, versus LinkedIn which is professional.
Mario Sundar, a LinkedIn community evangelist, recently blogged about the difference between social networking and professional networking, and how the two spheres are not so dissimilar.
I think the notion of presenting your true side (social and professional) is a basic instinct. The key here is tailoring it to the right audience and managing privacy controls. In my case, everything that’s searchable publicly is essentially what I’d like my professional identity to be, whereas my social identity is something I’m particular about sharing only with my existing/expanding social circle.
My googlesphere today comprises 621 results. After this post is published, it will be 622.
While I have former (and current) colleagues linked to my Facebook profile and/or my LinkedIn profile, and sometimes on both, there is a mutual understanding that either we’re friends or solely business partners. The colloquialism of one relationship is the finesse of another.
What initiated this post was a search on LinkedIn for people with my last name. After it showed all of the Herzogs, I found myself looking at Arri Hartog, the director of a regional tax office, Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst Drechtsteden, in the Netherlands.