In this post I share my view on the topic of friendship on Facebook and LinkedIn.
I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.
Our lives have become tightly linked to communication on social media. The debate about how to use them, with what frequency, degree of disclosure or privacy is passionating.
In this post I want to talk about a specific aspect of dealing with social media: friendship on Facebook and LinkedIn.
I am quite a fan of this social. I don’t expect my privacy to be respected by Facebook and I know that this powerful means is not put at my disposal without nothing in return. I am, however, quite certain that if mere mortals don’t have my friendship on Facebook, they cannot see what I post on my wall. And this is the reason why I have two different spaces on Facebook: my personal profile and my professional page.
To be true, my professional page is not really professional :-). While I try to focus on topics linked to my work on it, I also use it to share my passions in a wider sense. I enjoy managing it this way (and I am deeply convinced that one must have fun in using socials) and since I know prospective clients are more likely to work with someone they know and like, I keep it like this and hope my followers are happy.
On my personal wall I talk about events of my private life instead. This is not the only reason why I do not accept friendship on Facebook from strangers. I simply do not see why I should connect with people I have never seen in my life, and with whom I have not had any kind of exchange. I am not interested in accumulating hundreds of friends, I do not want to comment or discuss my personal stuff with people who do not know me, and I don’t want my feed to be filled with meaningless comments that have nothing to do with me.
I don’t mean I only give friendship on Facebook to persons who went to school or worked with me. With many of my friends on FB I just connected virtually, but in an important way – with an interview, a chat via Skype, or working remotely on the most varied topics.
Things are a bit different here, because the social media itself is different. LinkedIn was created to thrive in the professional arena. And this is why here I am even more rigid. It does not make sense to me to connect with people whose work has nothing to do with mine. Even if I know them, and in real life we are super friends.
I would not see the advantage in creating a network on LinkedIn made of bakers, teachers, carpenters, engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses… Not because these categories have nothing to teach me. EVERYTHING is interesting in life, and ANYBODY can inspire you in the most creative way. However our time is limited. We have to make choices. And since LinkedIn is the social through which you can actually find work, I’d rather give my time and welcome to those who contribute to improve my profile professionally.
I really appreciate receiving a couple of lines from people who explain why they are interested in my profile. It takes off some of the “screen stiffness” that characterizes most of our relationships nowadays. It makes me understand that that person really has an interest in connecting with me.
I also accept people who do not write an introductory message if I understand from their profile that they have something in common with me work wise, because I know the connection will probably give me new insights and interesting information.
The last reason why I only connect with people of my same professional field is that by doing so I make sure my feed will only show me posts and news that are interesting for my work.
I end on a curious note: I am also intrigued by LinkedIn under an intercultural point of view. Up to when I kept my residency in Jakarta, the tone of private communication was fast, simple and straight to the point. I changed my position to Geneva, and the messages I receive now are long, wordy, sometimes even elegant. I am interested in the difference in communication between my Asian colleagues and the French-Swiss ones, and in how this difference shows itself even in a few lines.
Head picture: Pixabay