The six commandments of social networking at work

Businesses ignore the technology at their peril. Naïve use is just as risky. Get savvy with this guide to professional social tech use

It can be easy to disregard social networking's professional potential if you're only going on what you see on television. Between endlessly replayed clips where hysterical young men beg everyone to leave Britney Spears alone and the eyebrow-raising antics that a MySpace pinup performs on "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila," it's understandable that many businesspeople are tempted to write off MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter as career-killers and some I IT leaders consider pulling the plug on social networking use within the business.

However, social networking sites and tools don't have to be synonymous with Tila Tequila -- and for the emerging generation of professionals, they're not. When KRC Research surveyed so-called Millennials -- people aged 18-27 -- 40 per cent of them expected to have access to social networking Web sites. And one's social profile may actually improve one's employability: Recently, blogger Tom Foremski observed that software developers and marketing professionals become more employable when they enjoy a significant professional footprint online.

There's a place in the office for social networking -- so long as you follow our commandments below.

1. Thou shalt present yourself respectfully and honestly

"It's OK to show personality and good humor, but be careful with how far you take it," warns Brian Block, a communications account executive at staffing consultancy Pierpoint. After all, your online profile in sites like LinkedIn or Facebook is the digital counterpart to your resume.

Because so many people use their Facebook or Twitter accounts to manage both personal and professional aspects of their lives, this can lead to some tricky situations. Take, for example, vacation photos. It's not just your mom looking at pictures of you at the Grand Canyon anymore.

Employment lawyer Ron Solish says that when deployed correctly, vacation photos can be shared with your personal circle while burnishing your professional profile. If the vacation demonstrates talents or features that employers find attractive -- such as world traveling or mastering a complicated skill -- then post them.

But, he warns, "You should not post photos of yourself or others that paint you or others in an unprofessional light."

Similarly, you should also remember to be mindful of any text missives that could come back to haunt you. Block points out, "Your status updates do not have to be suitable for 'Bartlett's Familiar Quotations,' but think twice before posting what a rotten day you are having. HR may see it as a red flag."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lisa Schmeiser

Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?