Thursday, February 26, 2009

Deactivate profiles? What a strange thought.

I read PM Network regularly to stay up to date on Project Management industry news, and they have very solid coverage of PM tools and tips. It is also enlightening to occasionally read the descriptions of project methodologies outside my industry. Recently, I was presently surprised to see PM Network venture into the social marketing arena with a short article in the February, 2009 issue by John Sullivan, titled The Social Scene. Primarily intended to advise project managers on how to use social networking for career advancement, the article does a solid job of covering the basics such as Linkedin, Googling oneself, and Facebook.

Some of the sites listed were perplexing though. Ziggs was a new one to me so I checked it out. I performed a few searches on the author's name in a few combinations but he doesn't appear to be listed. I'm not sure why one would mention a site one wasn't using in an article. Possibly, the site has secret profiles not indexed by search? I can't see the point of that. So, I opted not to register for my own account and moved on.

The author advises readers to get recommendations (not on Facebook, I suppose, that would be a whole new realm of applicability for the "it's complicated" relationship label), use a good photo and commit to maintaining one's profile. That is solid advice and will get you far.

But the advice to Consolidate wouldn't work for most networkers (quoted from the article):
Some sites, like Facebook, are more social in nature while others, such as Linkedin, are more career oriented. Pick one for each purpose and remove or deactivate profiles on other sites.
The author advises readers to pick two sites and run with them. While this might work as an initial first step, it seems woefully inadequate long term. Additionally, a neophyte might naively assume that the networks won't cross, when I can guarantee this will happen. Just last week a new team member at work told me he'd seen a photo of me on facebook, because his fiancée is in my facebook network and showed it to him. So trying to keep two networks separately is not a good long term strategy - the world is a small place, and due to the strength of weak ties it is getting smaller.

Further, consolidating to just two sites may isolate you from other networks. I have networks on plaxo, on friendfeed, and on linkedin. They operate differently, and through the magic of RSS I can keep them updated and current. So why would I want to shut those profiles down? Or, potentially lose folks as contacts who are heavily invested in those networks and don't want to follow me to my network of choice? And don't you dare trying to take my twitter away from me.

I'm glad to see PM Network addressing social networking technologies, and I hope that their coverage will expand in the future.

No comments: