Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What is work and what is play?

“In Production all servers are running from my ID...isn’t it cool !!”

A friend of mine updated this on his Facebook account some days back. Aren’t we used to see updates that go like "Another bad day at work" on Facebook/Twitter more often?

Rise of social media is changing the norms of everyday communication. You start form sharing anything that you think is cool enough and then you start looking out for things to share and then it comes to a point when you have to share a bad experience. Is this a problem? Answer to this depends upon what your group consists of? And more than that, what have you been sharing and how you handle it. There are pros and cons to it. Let us see how;

For most of us our Facebook friends range from mere acquaintances to childhood friends, to recent friends to activity partners to office colleague and to even supervisors (Last one is true at least in my case ;) ). When my followers are such a mixed group, things I share can be interpreted in different ways. The status update mentioned above got my friend kind of heroic remarks from his friends, but what if a colleague or a supervisor sees this? I am not sure the outcome would be that amusing.

On the other hand, having everyone at one place helps me make my voice heard well. I can actually draw different perspectives from people and generate a lot of food for thought. I can provoke a discussion and catch required amount of attention, and because it reaches beyond my own network (that’s the way Facebook works) I get a good chance to get people interested who I otherwise won’t come across. At those levels it provides you a better networking opportunity even in professional terms; better than LinkedIn or any other professional network for that instance.

Another friend had to make an important deal-breaking presentation to a prospective client. A normal Google search landed him on client’s Facebook profile and he got to know that the client shares his interest in graphology. On his way to office, fortunately he met him in lift and just struck an offhand conversation bringing in the common interest. His presentation went well and they got the deal. I know it did not happen because of the off-had conversation but you can’t deny the fact that he was able to make a personal note with that person before stepping into professional zone. Having that personal pitch helped cool his nerves and it’s anyway good to see a smiling spectator rather than a twisted faced one. I am not sure how many of his competitors had that.

So where this does brings us? Today I don’t communicate with people only when I talk to them. I communicate when they see my comment on any of my Facebook friend’s update. I communicate when they see what place I have checked in. I communicate when I say what video or news article I liked or hated or found hilarious. And then there are incidents like those mentioned above that make us feel that work and play are getting mixed. And it seems to be the case. Social network is inevitably mixing personal and professional lives. The more you express, more you will be able to get out of it. There is a reason people are so active out there. It is because they do benefit from it to a good extent.

You build a web personality the way you share things on social media. The more you share, promote and contribute, more trust you gain from people. You build relationships on web that help you work things out in your real life. It might sound radical or even ridiculous but that is what I am seeing happen. The trend is certainly changing.

We are always taught to hide our weaknesses and show only strengths. The growing social media seems to be changing those norms. Sharing more information is helping people get in better touch rather than threatening privacy as we think to be the case. Does that mean definition of privacy has also changed? The trick is in knowing where to draw the line and the question here is how much to share.

Care to share what you think?

No comments: