Social networking and your professional world…

While searching on social networking, I found a journal article titled “Social networking poses new challenges” that discusses the viability of intertwining social networking sites such as Facebook with your professional life. While this article is written for medical professionals, the concept can really pertain to any career.

Is it a good idea to add patients/clients/coworkers on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites? That is the question that Kern (2010) attempts to answer in his article. Social networking, if clients/patients are open to it, can be a great way to provide your clientele with news and information about your workplace. One quick tweet or status update can inform many people of a change in hours, or new product being offered by your company. However, Kern (2010) warns to keep your professional site professional and separate from your personal site. Don’t post videos of a Doctor goading patients if you are a Doctor, or a librarian making a child cry while he/she laughs maniacally. While you might see the humor in such content, your patients/clients might not.

This article was an interesting and different view from the Stephens (2007) article. Stephens encouraged librarians to embrace social networking! Live on the cutting edge of the Web and Library! Be accessible to your patrons! And while I’d tend to agree with Stephens, I think it’s also important to take Kern’s warnings into consideration. I personally wouldn’t want to add coworkers/clients to my personal Facebook. I like having the option to be completely myself without having to feel censored or the need to always be “professional.” I would happily create a “Sara the Librarian” page and friend all of my new friends there!

Kern, S. L. (2010). Social networking poses new challenges. Medical Economics, 87(1), 29.

Stephens, M. (2007). The ongoing web revolution. Library Technology Reports, 43(5), 10-14.