The face of Extension, online and off

I was pleased to learn that our first virtual conference encouraged several people to become active on Facebook for the first time. Social media is an outstanding way to deliver information to people in a new way. However, it’s important that we take a close look at how we mix our personal lives and professional lives online. “Personal” does not equal “private.” What we say as Joe or Jill Resident is interpreted by many as an official recommendation from Michigan State University.

 So how do we ensure that our personal opinions are not misconstrued as our professional views? Molly Frendo and Jillian Tremonti gave an excellent presentation during FEC10 about Social Networking Boundaries and Professionalism. I encourage you to watch it and learn from their examples. A few highlights: 

  • It is against Facebook’s terms of use (TOS) to have more than one profile. Therefore, DO NOT create one profile to communicate with close friends and family and another one to communicate with colleagues and clients. If discovered, Facebook will remove both.
  • Use your privacy settings to ensure you are not sharing your personal views with Facebook “friends” you only relate to on a professional level.
  • If you have a lot of information you want to share about programming, consider creating a Facebook fan page and concentrate on that as a place to share professional information. Phil Durst’s Young Savvy and Into Dairy page is an excellent example.

Another suggestion you may consider is to use one social media site as your “personal” site, and another for your “professional” site. For example, you may use your Facebook site for keeping in touch with family members, former classmates and friends, and a LinkedIn site for remaining connected professionally. If you’re a relative newcomer to social media, you may want to check out Intro to Social Networking and The Ins and Outs (and Ups and Downs) of Social Media. If you’re a veteran, take a gander at Advanced Social Networking.

Regardless of how you connect, if you want to use social media as a way to express your political thoughts and advocacy for a candidate or a cause, it’s a good idea to remind folks

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