Monday, February 14, 2011

The Personalization of Business, via Twitter

A few days ago, I came across an article about turning your Facebook profile into your resume. My emotions rarely changed from one: abhored.

Abhored because for the past few years, I mentored college students. I've seen some of the stuff that students post on their pages that didn't display the best professional thinking.

So I'd send them a quick note that they might want to untag a picture, or change the profile picture. Or to create separate profiles and limit people to certain photo albums, etc.

And then let them know that despite their desires (and mine), Facebook isn't personal. Although it should be.

My POV is that that is fine, though: there needs to be a separation of personal from professional. That's why you have LinkedIn (professional network) and Facebook (personal network) and Twitter (a smogasboard of everything at once). And it's why I have been actively editing both LinkedIn (people I know and would recommend) and Facebook (people I know IRL or well enough online that I feel safe around them - and why I have 300 people in FB limbo). Twitter is still whomever and whatever, and I follow back those in PR or those whose Tweets interest me.

That's the thing about Twitter - it is one of those platforms that's really neither business nor personal: it's both. People use Twitter for work, but they also use it to find trends, share information, be themselves. It's a new and different paradigm (ok, not a full paradigm but something pretty new and different in the media world) that blurs those lines. It's like the work day - when does it really end nowadays? When do you have your work/life balance? Since most of us like sharing information and enjoy it, is it still work? In PR, it is if it's billable, but shouldn't we be able to clock out at a certain time?

But that's an aside on the interesting aspect of Twitter: it's a new "paradigm" for the personal and professional. The line is blurred, and the tools you use for business are the same you use for personal, and the tools you used for personal are creeping into the professional. Plus each business account has a real person behind it, and the only way business accounts succeed is if there's a personality and real voice behind it.

That's the interesting thing that oneforty has tapped into: people use Twitter for personal and professional reasons, but it's more than just for fun for them. They built guides for other business users; so oneforty has transitioned into more than just a place to find free Twitter apps, but a place to find professional twitter applications, a social media/business expert, and reviews on the oneforty blog (another great outlet for those of us that have social media tools to pitch).

oneforty has taken the personal of Twitter and showcased the business side of it for its users, turning it into a social business hub to share ideas and best practices.

Is that the future of social media? Personal yet professional? The basics are pretty simple: it's made of people (just like Soylent Green). Will we see a blurring of the lines of professional and personal personas, a blurring of the life/work balance? The tools are so ubiquitous, it's likely - but then you just learn to shut down and go do some yoga.
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