How wide is your network? How much of it is built on social media? Is it blended or silo-ed?
Like many people, I’ve been building a network since the early days of my career. Because of that, my network is strong, and its members have helped me immensely. When I’m stuck or in doubt, there is usually someone to whose expertise and experience I can turn. I use my network regularly, and I give to it even more. After helping someone, often by connecting them to another person they need, I’m often asked – what can I do in return? My answer is usually: nothing, right now. If I need you, I’ll ask, and you can help me then.
That is how healthy networks are built, by giving when you can and building relationships with individuals, one on one. I know I’m stating the obvious to anyone who has built a network, but there is something that isn’t so obvious I see being done via social channels, especially by young people… thinking that their business network is separate and siloed from their personal network. And that just isn’t possible.
If by this time you haven’t realized that the idea of privacy is a fallacy, you only need to look at the wiki-leak dripping of private emails to understand what I’m talking about. No, you may not have the high profile of Leon Panetta and it is unlikely that you’ll be hacked and your career ruined, but your social media presence is a different version of the same thing. Even if you keep your social network small there is no way you can hide who you are from people who really want to know more about you.
A young friend of mine behaves a bit recklessly on social media; he is witty and brilliant, but sarcastic to the extreme. He is not always kind to people that are not in his circle of close friends. He thinks it doesn’t impact him, but he is wrong. When you behave badly on social media, friends of friends interact with you, they see you, and they form an opinion. Your network has tentacles that you can’t see or control.
Imagine that you apply for a job, and the company is really interested, so they check out who is in your shared network through LinkedIn. Now, you may have always behaved with the utmost professionalism on LinkedIn, but, one of your connections on there may be connected to you on another platform. And their friends, who don’t know you, may have witnessed your unkind or bizarre behavior. They may even be able to capture screen shots, say of an extremely edgy meme you shared… and it makes its way back to your potential employer.
This isn’t true only of social media networks of course. If you are unkind, rude, or wacky in any of your real life networks there is a very good chance that stories of your behavior will make it into your business network. The truth is that there is only one you, one person, once consciousness, one personality… and it blends across all your networks whether you want it to or not.
If you’d like to receive updates for new posts please subscribe here: