Blurred Lines – The Human Network

No this isn’t a blog on Robin Thicke’s raunchy song. It’s a blog about the blurring of human networks.
I recently attended the Australian Talent Conference 2017 (ATC2017) in Sydney and had a number of conversations with regards to LinkedIn and Facebook networks.
There seemed to be a division of two camps:

  1. LinkedIn is my professional profile and network and I’ll never mix it with Facebook. Facebook is my personal network, never shall the two entwine.
  2. My Facebook is becoming an integrated social and professional network, and Facebook is now my preferred channel.

I fall into the later camp. This all changed a couple of years ago for me. First people started out as professional contacts on LinkedIn, some of whom I then met and enjoyed a beer, espresso martini, or crab slider with and a friendship was born. A Facebook connect was made.
[bctt tweet=”Where do you stand on the blurring of lines btw social & professional networks – yay or nay? ” username=”ATCevent”]
Now, I frequently get friend requests on Facebook from people who I have never met, and people I am not even a first, second or third connection on LinkedIn. What we do share are loads of the same friends on Facebook and a similar interest with regards to our careers. We are part of the same groups, sharing, and learning from one another. Facebook is becoming a multi-sided platform and at present most of it is FREE.
LinkedIn should be worried. As they try to monetise everything, and their professional network becomes less professional and more like Facebook, users will begin to migrate elsewhere. And where do you think they’ll go? Recently the term ‘LinkedIn Jail’ was coined as LinkedIn updated Terms of Service. If you are using a Chrome extension which scrapes LinkedIn (e.g. Prophet, ContactOut, Lusha or RocketReach), and you use it excessively (ambiguous definition at best) you could have your account suspended! It’s happening now, as you read this blog. I’ve lost count of the number of posts on Facebook about it.
The more I think about it the more I think of a LinkedIn Monopoly Board. Each street is a Chrome extension or a competitor and every Community Chest card is a ‘Go directly to jail, do not pass go’.
When was the last time you actually participated in a LinkedIn group, or saw a group engaged and sharing valuable information? Well, I know I haven’t bothered with it because my network and key people I follow are more active on Facebook. Guess what that means for me? I don’t have to login somewhere else. Convenience.
I kind of feel sorry for the people connecting with me on Facebook! I post a lot of crap, loads of pics of my kids and commentary from conferences or sports. There aren’t posts of famous people, daily quotes, or that picture of the wolf pack, just posts from me, being me. They probably regret connecting and are secretly de-friending me. I’m cool with that.
[bctt tweet=”How do you use your social media networks? Is there a difference btw how you use Facebook & LinkedIn?” username=”ATCevent”]
But the beauty of it is this. I am connecting with these people, these humans. Sue Langley spoke about this at ATC2017. Connecting with people on familiar things. The power of that connection goes deep. From a first time face to face meeting at a conference, to a potential purchase of product or service! I’m more than likely going to buy off someone I’m connected to on Facebook where I have started to relate to that individual on a more personal level. I’m more likely going to refer or recommend that person over a professional network on LinkedIn. What about you?
I’m happy for my personal or social network to blend with my professional network and firmly believe in a handful of years it will be the norm. I understand why others choose not to.
Where do you sit when it comes to blurring the lines between your social and professional networks?
Image: Shutterstock

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