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Value of a Single Face in a Global Village

December 10, 2009

With the advent of social media, it’s been easy for people to have multiple lives and personalities. In general many of them have a professional and a social/more private side to them. I’m a firm believer that us people, having a common face for all the facets of your life is essential for the following reasons:

1. Right thing

It lets your colleagues and friends know what you’re about without confusing them and they are not getting mixed messages from you. An argument could be that you keep your friends and colleagues separate and having a single face could mean not compartmentalizing your life into professional and personal. To that, I would say that why would you want to hide a part of you from your friends or colleagues. If you are not doing anything wrong then why hide anything. My professor and mentor, Dr. Bret Simmons, once mentioned that, “Social media is like a coffee shop not your living room”. But to extrapolate that it’s not a bar either and the question I would ask is why would a picture of you drunk make your friends happy? Appropriate material you put on social media should not offend your colleagues either.

2. Privacy

I don’t think there is any privacy on the internet so if it’s online, people have access to it. Numerous times I’ll have tweets on my account showing the worst “Status Updates” etc. I do think people posting those messages thought that they were private messages but Privacy on Social Web is a myth.

3. Trust

Ever wonder what your colleagues or friends might think of you when they find out that you had something to hide. Most people trust openness, consistency and honest approach more than anything else. I see this as an opportunity to build that trust. Let’s not forget there are credit rating agencies which are thinking of using social media to figure out how trustworthy you are rather than just checking your credit score. In that scenario, they would also be monitoring the friend circle and notice who you hang out with. Trust is the key in all situations.

4. Global Village

I was talking to an ex colleague and now friend of mine and he mentioned something very useful. In 1920’s and 30’s people were noticed all the time, how they behaved and how trustworthy they were since in those days cities were smaller and everyone knew everyone and therefore no room for cheating or deceptions. He then said we are entering a similar era with social media now where everyone can find out a lot of stuff about you. “Google is your new business card” whether you like it or not. This makes a fundamental shift in society where people would like to keep the same face wherever they go.

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