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Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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Someone is watching you!

November 30th, 2009 · No Comments

You just received your "LinkedIn Network Update" email. Your colleague, Mary Anne, had updated her LinkeIn profile, added 75 new connections, received 3 new recommendations, and joined 3 groups.

What kind of intelligence can you infer from above information?

Let me tell you something. There is a high probability that Mary Anne is looking for a new job. She is improving her profile, networking like crazy, and trying to build positive word-of-mouth referrals.

People’s behaviors on LinkedIn can reveal a lot about what they’re thinking and doing. 

I’m not telling you to jump to conclusion about others’ plans and intentions based on their behaviors on LinkedIn. But, LinkedIn is definitely a channel for career and office intelligence.

The reverse is true as well — if you’re not careful on LinkedIn, others (which might include your boss and subordinate) might know a lot more about you than you want them to know.

Just a few days, someone I knew was pulled into a room by his manager. His manager had found out from social networking sites that my friend was actively contacting recruiters. The manager asked: "You’re looking around. Why? Are you committed to your job?"

Facebook could be even more problematic. A lot of people are connected to both their personal friends and co-workers on Facebook. You might be flirting with a former classmate on the Facebook Wall, but if you’re not careful, your action will be "broadcasted" to a lot more people than you would have preferred. Your colleagues might notice that you’ve been on Facebook a lot during working hours. That’s usually not a good thing in front of your coworkers.

Most of the social networking sites make it really easy to share and reveal information by default. I’m all for the benefit of social networking: connecting, sharing, and building a community. But, I also believe in the separation of professional life and personal life.

It’s dangerous to  mix them up.

So, I practice a bare bone, minimalist social networking strategy:

  • I turned on most of the privacy settings on LinkedIn.
  • I use LinkedIn to connect to former and present colleagues. I rarely update LinkedIn profile. Even if I update my profile, people won’t get the automatic notification since I’ve turned on my private settings. They have to specifically come to my profile page to see any changes I made.
  • I have separate Facebook accounts for professional and personal purposes. I don’t connect to any co-workers on Facebook.

Call me paranoid and/or old fashioned. I just think we’re much better off by calling each other, grabbing a cup of coffee, and having lunch together to learn more about each other.

Related posts:

Recommended reading:

  • How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life (Revised Edition)
  • Privacy Lost: How Technology Is Endangering Your Privacy
  • The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?
  • Database Nation : The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century

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  • Tags: Tools & Tips

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