How Much Do You Want to Be Known?

At the writing of this article both Facebook and Google+ have undergone some new changes. In fact the radical shift in Facebook has caused many people to chime in with their dislikes all the way from mild disinterestedness to downright closing their accounts.

Google+ has opened to the public so you can join without an invitation. Now that the masses can join, the early adopters are waiting for the new public versions of spam.

In watching all the back and forth I realize that everyone has a different view on just what to say and why on these public networks so let’s review some basics.

1) What you say on the internet is there forever and you don’t know how people are going to take what you said. For example: “I ate chicken for dinner.” shouldn’t get you into too much trouble unless you are in a situation you shouldn’t be eating meat. “I ate chicken for dinner with Lavonne.” establishes you have a relationship with that person, which should be OK as long as they don’t have any outstanding warrants. Keep adding more information and you increase the potential for some interesting interpretations of what you did/said.

2) There are privacy settings. Sometimes I check into places in public when I’m with someone, endorse where I’ve been or I”m at a business function and want to create a small buzz about my business. Other than that I usually check into places using an app that broadcasts the message only to the people I’ve allowed to see my stream. If I’m somewhere I don’t want anyone to know – like getting that triple dip chocolate mocha coconut extreme – I don’t let anyone know.

3) Don’t do anything at first. Usually when things change it’s best to take a breather, let the experts dig into the changes and wait until they post the down and dirty. Sure enough someone will blog, podcast, make a video or graphic on the changes that can put things into perspective.

4) Spam is Spam. Out and out messages to buy buy buy are wrong. The other day a person jumped into the middle of a conversation about a musician and gave the link to his website. When people mildly but directly pointed out this was spam the person actually was insulted, saying it was OK to take free advertising wherever you can get it. I can imagine the amount of “Spam reports” made on this person’s comments. Did he sell anything or get any click through? Possibly but anyone that went to that site put themselves at risk for a virus or rip-off.

5) The Best of You! Many people have down days, get ill or have misfortune, but your collective posting on social media sites paints the picture of a you that may be the only picture some people see. So even though you are transparent, make sure the picture is a good mix of who you are and points more to the best of you than the worst. You never know when you are going to meet or get an opportunity to do business with someone.

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