Saturday, September 05, 2009

tailoring yourself on social media as threat or opportunity

I had a interesting conversation with younger friend yesterday about the different ways we use Facebook. He's early 20's and I'm mid 40's.

For the most part, I restrict Facebook to people with whom I have relatively close ties. I use Twitter for weak ties and Linkedin as a hyper-linked addressbook that connects me to "colleagues of colleagues".

In contrast, my kids and most people I know in their 20's allow very weak ties to be friends with them on Facebook. My friend said that being a Facebook friend is a step you take before even getting someone's phone number. Then he said something fascinating: as he's entered the business world, the public space that he's entered, and the exposure he has on Facebook, has not made him more careful about what goes onto his Facebook page but instead has made him change the way that he lives in the real world. This "living in public" isn't a bad thing for him at all. Rather, because he wants to be a person in the world who has a big and positive impact, it's an essential and welcome tailoring of his real life. He's not tailoring his Facebook profile. He's tailoring his real life so that his Facebook profile reflects a new reality.

This is how an entrepreneur thinks versus someone who sees themselves as a worker in a machine (Facebook as the panopticon). It's seeing as a threat how much a boss or future employer might find out about you (LINK) versus seeing this view into one's life as an opportunity to change oneself in order to be more successful in the world.
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