Monday, May 16, 2011

Social Media - A Double-Edged Sword?

It's funny how things evolve.  Until recently I often used google to search for information, now I simply reach out to my own network on twitter or linkedin. Professionally I have a growing, and very important group of people who I can rely on to get feedback, kick ideas around, and candidly tell me if I'm completely off-base.  It's an unexpected and wonderful change in my life.

I've also embraced facebook in my personal life.  I have reconnected with old friends from years ago as many others have done.  However, it's also become a great way for my family to connect and joke with each other.  Additionally, as a youth hockey coach, I am now connected with many great parents and players who have been involved with the teams I've coached for years.  

Now these two worlds are on a collision course.

Crossing the Line
I have been committed to keeping my "professional life" and "personal life" separate for a long time.  That was my way of maintaining some sense of control despite the fact that I've tried to be as transparent as possible in my evolving leadership style.  Keeping secrets and hoarding information just doesn't make sense.  But now the relationships I've built professionally have become more than just "a network."  Those distant avatars and blog addresses are becoming friends (cue the HRevolution theme music.)  That means my commitment to transparency and personal privacy is  

Not a Sword, But a Gift
Apparently I'm on a quest to constantly be reminded of how much I still need to learn.  Now that I've been wrestling with this issue for several months it has become clear to me that if I'm going to be a friend in return, I need to prove it.  Connecting with my network/friends beyond the safety of twitter and linkedin is a tangible way to push myself, again, out of my comfort zone.  Just for the record, I love my comfort zone.

How About You
How do you balance your social media worlds?  Are you still committed to living a double-life; or, is it time to take the next step and embrace new connections as friends?  How much more might you get out of your network if it was more than just a bunch of "professional contacts?"

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of Brian Solis


  1. Hi Jay - great questions and lots to ponder. I am starting to get the sense that to really get the most out of networks and relationships that you have to start to think of it all as one big network, with maybe some subtle differences, but that trying to keep a hard divide between the two is getting to be just about impossible.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more Steve. The lines are blurred for a good reason -> great new people that are becoming more than just contacts.