With the proliferation of social network media, its advantages and abuses are just as varies as the people using the sites. Alumni reveal just what social network media have come to mean to them, and how they avoid misuse.
Layminto Jubilee (MBA 2008):
I’m using Linked-In for professional purposes and Facebook for personal ones. I don’t want to mix the two. For professional networking, I just want to know or read professional material, whereas Facebook is only for social matters, mostly with friends and without any business or work relationships at the moment. I strictly do not discuss personal things at Linked-In, nor discuss business and professional issues on Facebook.
I want my social networks or friends to be free of any business motives, as I want a genuine friendship. As for business relationships, I just want to keep a safe distance until the course of life draws us naturally to become real friends.
Celestine Chua (BBA 2006):
I have social network accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and a professional account on Linked-In. I use the former more as they are relevant media for my work as a personal development blogger and coach (at http://celestinechua.com/blog/). Thus, I reach out to my readers via my blog and social media networks. However, I do use my accounts for both personal and professional purposes. I think it’s really up to whether the individual sees work and life as two separate entities. My work is an extension of what I love to do in life, that is helping others grow through blogging and coaching, so in that sense I don’t see any reason to separate them. More importantly, people I know from “work” can very well be great friends too.
Social media is a tool, just like internet and email. I do career coaching, and social media is already becoming a critical tool in helping savvy jobseekers gain an edge over others in landing jobs. It’s up to the individual to use it wisely and not abuse it. Each social media tool has its own privacy settings, so use them to your advantage. Only add your personal friends into your account and don’t add people you don’t know.
Kunal Sinha (MBA 2008):
Social networking, especially now with easy mobile access, lets you feel connected to your friends even while an angry boss may be hovering nearby. Personally, I find a social network more fulfilling since I strongly believe that professional networking takes care of itself if you’re good at what you do. My only professional space is the time I spend at my desk or traveling for work when I find creative juices flowing. I don’t feel the need to grow my professional network outside this time. The time I spend away from work is my personal space, a very small part of which I spend on social networking websites.
What may be meaningful and significant to you may just be a joke or just plain boring to people within your network. Share only things about yourself that you would want to know about others. If you still have spare time left, look for an obsolete item which resembles a website – only in print. We called it a book.
Be wise about the information you share. Treat the people within your social network as you would people you meet at a cocktail party. You would have fun, share a few laughs, but you wouldn’t share your ATM PIN or your embarrassing photographs, would you?
Foo Check Woei (BBA 1990):
I use Facebook for social networking and Linked-In for professional purposes like helping headhunters look out for me. I try to separate the two very distinctively, or else things may become very grey and any personal comments that I put into Facebook may be misinterpreted. I am selective as to whom I accept as a friend on Facebook since my personal details are there. If there are just casual business contacts or new people I have just gotten to know recently, I may not automatically accept them into Facebook. I have created a “secret” group in Facebook for my sisters, immediate family and our children so that we can all keep in contact. This is not viewable by anyone except members of the group. While it is not totally foolproof, it is another level of privacy that gives me some comfort and allows me to keep in touch with the young ones in the family.
Social networking media will always be open for abuse as anything posted on the internet stays in cyberspace forever. Just try to Google your name and see what turns up – very scary. So whenever one posts anything, one should just think twice about the implications as that comment can never be totally erased forever.
Mia Susanto (MBA 2007):
I brand myself differently in corporate and social settings. I have certain attributes that I show at work but not when I’m with friends and family, and vice versa. It’s true that the lines between these two aspects are blurred with various social network media available these days. The world has become so flat that it’s too easy to share information and connect with people from all over the world. That’s why it’s important to manage information about yourself wisely. It comes back to how much you want people to know about yours and who you want to share it with.
Ryan Peh (BBA Hons 2009):
Ours is a family business, B2B, dealing with fuel and lubricants, so our customers and clients do not go on social media like Facebook and Twitter. I use Facebook to organize “Balcony Night“. It’s a dinner event where friends of friends come together for dinner and drinks. They may come because they want to meet new people or to network. At these events, I usually find out about what my friends do and link them up on the spot. At every event, three or four meaningful business or career connections are established. So my personal branding is to establish myself as a network node or a “go-to” person for recommendations. In the next few months, I’ll be using Facebook to link young entrepreneurs with business owners so that we can help give referrals for one another’s businesses, share good vendors, or simply to chill out.
I’m totally comfortable mixing my professional and social networks. There’s nothing to hide about my life. Because I’m working in a family business, there’s nothing to hide from my employer. In fact, I feel that because of the transparency, corporate individuals may feel safer dealing with me.
Deon Chan (MBA 2005):
I’ve learnt from seminars that the trend in the next five years will see the phasing out of email, and taking over by Facebook. Facebook is so flexible; it has many functions and allows me to keep in touch with anyone, even overseas. For example, I learnt that a cousin was hospitalized from her Facebook account, and I was able to send her gifts; I could show her my concern. Facebook allows you to touch people when they most need it. You can sense how they are feeling from what they post on their wall and go in to give them words of encouragement. You must use judgment on social media networks and not hurt people. or show religious bias; you must behave as you would in any other social setting. My persona on Facebook is the same as what people see every day.
Vikash Dhanuka (APEX-E MBA 2008):
I got sucked into Facebook in 2007. The first year or so was interesting – getting back in touch with lost friends – indeed I thought it was a great tool. Yet, slowly but surely, Facebook has completely lost its charm because apart from knowing it is a tool which can be utilized to connect with lost friends, it seems a very “unreal” way of communicating with your family and friends. Recently, Linked-In is what I find more useful professionally. And none of my business contacts are in my Facebook account. I keep things absolutely separate. I feel social networking will lead to a “decay” in the way we build relationships. Don’t forget that we live in a real world – with real people. Do not spend more time and energy on either social or professional networks than they deserve – I allocate five to 10 minutes a day, at most. The rest of the time, it is best to pick up the phone and call them or meet them in person.