Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Facebook Isn't For Everyone

Online networking is fascinating. Established tools like Facebook and LinkedIn make it as easy to connect with people around the world as across the hall. You can share interesting pieces of information about yourself, your interests and your skills. You can share your network with others. You can become part of an online community. Yet, people seem to lose sight of the fact that technology doesn't yet completely override the rules of engagement that differ between friends and colleagues.

While your boss or your Board might be encouraging you to jump on the Facebook bandwagon, remember that Facebook is primarily personal. It's an exchange among friends. It's the place where people can throw virutal snowballs at you, where they can see silly photos of you posted by someone you knew years ago from an event you'd rather forget.

There are ways nonprofits can benefit from Facebook, certainly. If you choose to pursue it, however, know your objective and shape your actions. Put a plan in place to make it work over the long term.

And, before you send out a friend request or accept one, think about whether or not it is in your professional interest to invite that person and all of their friends into your home. If you're not sure, you might want to ignore the friend request and send them an invitiation to link with you on the tool positioned for professionals: LinkedIn.
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