Confirm OR Ignore: Is Your Facebook For Personal Pleasure Or Professional Networking?

By: Kristen Durkin

You have a wonderful career and a great group of peers you regularly network with; they request you on Facebook, now what?

Making the decision to use your Facebook account for professional reasons is a personal choice. The dilemma for me first arose after relocating to Mexico, my career had taken off and I was traveling to conferences several times a year. I became friendly with a fantastic group of professionals in my industry and as you’ve probably suspected I began receiving Facebook friend requests.

I had to ask myself: Do I want my professional peers reading my mother’s comments begging me to return to NYC or my younger sisters witty banter? Well, no. Personally, I felt as though I was entitled to live my private life, privately, but could I afford to be disconnected from a giant networking event that I had a personal invitation to attend? And so, the question arose: is Facebook for personal pleasure or professional networking?

If you decide to not accept professional invites, how do you avoid “denying” requests for friendship? Certainly, there is no one RIGHT way to decide how to handle maintaining your social networks; however, perhaps you can network while maintaining your privacy.

1. If you want privacy, create it

Facebook’s Help Page explains it best, quoted below:

To edit the privacy settings for a photo album, follow these steps:
1. Go to the photo album.
2. Select the “Edit Info” button at the top right of the screen.
3. On the “Edit Info” tab, select the “Privacy” drop-down menu to customize the privacy settings for your album.

Please note that if a photo of you resides in an album you do not own, only the owner of the album can adjust the album privacy. This may affect the visibility of photos you are tagged in when your friends look at them.

You can also access privacy settings for photo albums by doing the following:
1. Click on the “Account” menu and select “Privacy Settings” from the drop down menu.
2. Click “Customize settings.”
3. Choose “Edit album privacy for existing photos.” Alternatively, you can click the “Album Privacy” link on the “Photos” tab of your profile next to your albums.
The privacy settings for photos you post and photos you are tagged in live in the “Sharing on Facebook” section of your Privacy Settings page. To change these settings individually, select the “Customize settings” link. Photos you post are controlled by the “Default for Posts by Me” setting in the “Things I share” section. Photos you are tagged in are controlled by the “Photos and videos I’m tagged in” setting in the “Things others share” section.

2. Don’t deny them, reroute them

It’s completely acceptable to have a professional account with professional contact information and an account that comes without family photos and childhood references. If this is something you’ve done (created a business account), simply send an invite from your professional account and make light of your choice. Most people would understand the ongoing battle for a balance between personal living and professional networking!

I’ve heard many contrasting views on this topic.How have you handled the balance of Facebook? Is it personal, professional, shared or an account for each purpose?

About Kristen Durkin

Kristen Durkin is currently a Masters candidate at New York University with an individually crafted degree in all things marketing/business. Prior to returning to graduate school Kristen had relocated from NYC to Quintana Roo, Mexico where she worked to build a women owned and operated start-up firm, IIPE. You can connect with Kristen on Twitter.

Originally posted at She Takes On The World.