Personal, Private, Professional, Public

Those are the 4 P’s of social networking, according to Doug Cornelius. Go check out his theory of how to measure the information you decide to put online, or not.

I think he’s on to something, but also that there’s something missing. Mostly, what I see missing is the idea that you can’t always separate personal and professional information. It’s the same thought that occurs to me when people say they use LinkedIn for professional networking, and Facebook just for their friends. That eliminates the possibility that the people you know professionally are also your friends. It’s not always possible to separate professional information from personal.

For example, this site is a personal endeavor. I do this on my personal time, spend my own money on the hosting costs, and it is not affiliated at all with my firm, but there’s a ton of professional information on here, and I list it on my resume. So is the work I put into this site personal or professional?

Like I’ve said before, the line between work life and personal life just gets thinner and thinner. Inevitably, they’ll just blur together to some degree as people follow our activities online more and more.

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  1. Mike –

    Thanks for your thoughts. You point out exactly what I was trying to get across. It is not a one or another approach. There are other dimensions to the analysis.

    I was focusing on the content. You are more likely to publish good professional content and try to limit some of the personal information. I also tried to fade the colors into each other and treat less like a box and more like a spectrum. But I am just a lawyer and not a graphic designer, so the image was a mess.

    I had another image that added a third dimension to the graphic. That thought there was then sorting the information you want to publish into the different locations you publish information. For example, you probably have less personal information in LinkedIn than Facebook and vice versa.

  2. Doug, I see where you are headed with it, and agree. I love the fact that you took the topic past the “this is my professional profile, and this is my personal one” strategy, which I tend to think is shortsighted. (i.e. if a friend adds you on LinkedIn are you going to refuse because it’s your professional profile? Or if a coworker/peer adds you as a friend on Facebook?) On the other hand, I also think that line between the personal and professional is very difficult to distinguish sometimes, and is going to be slightly different for each individual.

    Actually, it sounds like your third dimension graphic gets a little closer to the process as I think of it, but the real process is probably a little too convoluted for a nice graphic! 😉

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