Okaaaaaaaaaaay, Thing 6 is it then!
Of the various networks suggested, I’m a member of Facebook, LinkedIn, LISPN, and CILIP Communities…please note though, that there’s a big difference between me being a member, and me actually participating in all of these!
I have to confess up front, that I don’t ever actually go onto either LISPN or CILIP Communites.
LISPN I signed up to when it was first launched, as I wanted to help build the momentum to get it going, and be involved, but it moved way past me needing to be there as an encouraging body long ago! Also, it’s not really a network that I feel I need to be actively involved in at this point – I feel I’m at a stage in my career where I’m experienced, established in my role, and happily settled in my workplace. This means I’m not greatly in need of the resources available there, which are more suited to those moving to/from library school, first/second/third jobs/contracts, and trying to establish professional networks and contacts. The “new” part is perhaps something I’ve moved beyond.
Oh lordy: I’m old.
CILIP Communities is also not something that it ever occurs to me to visit – I know that there are interesting discussions going on over there at times, but I only find that out when links to them are posted on Twitter by other info professionals. I find it quite hard to navigate, and I don’t like having to be “me”, rather than the semi-anonymous me I can be here and elsewhere.
Facebook, I’m pretty much solely personal on there. I don’t allow current workmates to add me (apart from my boss, but that’s because we have more of a Friendship With Occasional Line Manager Aspects When Needed relationship than a Strict Boss Supervising Daft Minion At All Times While Using Stern Face thing going on), other than a few of the people in work I am closest to, and am happy to let them see me personal life. I don’t talk about my work on Facebook, or any of the people there. In fact on Facebook I don’t list: my full name; my date of birth/age; my place of birth/hometown; any of my educational history; my employer; what city I live in; my relationship status etc…basically, I give FB as little as I can get away with. I also never post anything serious about me or my life on Facebook: I post (hopefully) amusing status updates, and comment on other peoples stuff in a lighthearted way. This is my entirely personal and unprofessional world.
I do allow people to add me on FB that I have got to know through other means – friends who I met via this blog, or Twitter, mainly. They are the people I feel know me, and that I’m comfortable with having access to my photos, silly status updates etc. Many of the people I’ve added in this way are also professional contacts on other networks like Twitter, so there’s an element of “I first knew them elsewhere, but I like them enough to let them see how I really am” 😉
The other extreme of this is LinkedIn. This is the only place, anywhere where I am purely “grown up, work me”. My employer, job title, responsibilities, work and educational history and professional groups membership/activities are all listed there. I am connected to workmates throughout my firm, from all different departments, and I have connections in all sorts of professional fields.
My LinkedIn profile does link to this blog, which I quite often swither about – this is quite an informal blog, but my LinkedIn profile is quite formal. Do I want workmates following that link and seeing how daft some of my posts are? Do I want them knowing I have this blog at all? I don’t say anything terrible about my work or workmates, but will they assume any oblique references are about them? Currently, I’ve gone with “well, most other professional contacts can read this, so workmates should be fine”, but I’m frequently considering whether to de-link this blog from there – is it a good or a bad reflection on my “purely professional” LinkedIn profile to have this semi-professional blog associated? Is it better to give an idea of the real me from a link to this blog, or leave it as plain and professional?
But, despite having joined a couple of years ago, my profile LinkedIn still isn’t fully complete: I don’t have a photo. Photos – yuck! I don’t have many “proper, grown up” me photos, and it’s not like I can use the “official” work photo – that’s 6 years old, and I look a tad different now. I’m still debating with myself whether I ever want one on there, because, to be honest, I only have a LinkedIn page because I feel like I should have somewhere that the Professional Version Of Dumpling could be found. I’m not looking to move employer, I don’t need a professional recommendation, I don’t use it to advertise my expertise, I don’t use the groups (other than joining them, and then forgetting they exist), or ever contact anyone through it for help in something they’re expert in. If I wanted my friends help (which is what most of my non-workplace contacts are), I’d just ask them directly. It’s not really much use for me, to be honest.
So – I’d say LinkedIn is definitely the place that I’m still most unsure about how to best “be” on there, but otherwise, I hope the division between entirely professional (LinkedIn), semi-professional/personal (Twitter) or entirely personal (Facebook) networks is clear enough for people to see.
One thought on “Thing 6, online networks, and how I’m using them (or not)”
Hi Jennie. I enjoyed reading your post and feel exactly the same about LinkedIn (have posted about this too). I keep wondering if I'm missing out on some key point of it, so good to have my doubts echoed!