Getting Past the Fear

2 07 2008

Well, I did it. I joined the millions on Facebookjust last week. I have researched it, told people about it, even sold it to clients that they MUST be on Facebook…but I was still afraid of joining personally! Why? Because when you join the social network of Facebook, (or any other social network) you open yourself up to be seen, contacted, judged, mocked, exposed…as well as promoted, connected, joined together again!

I don’t think I stand alone in this “fear” of exposure. A friend of mine who is very heavily involved in social media, search engine optimization and other web related tactics shared with me a story of a small comment he made on Twitter that was basically intended for the small group of folks he regularly connects with – it wasn’t anything “bad,” just not something he expected the world to see. He then found out a day or two later when someone did a search on his name that this particular comment came up second or third on the search results!

The fact of the matter is that we really do need to join in on the conversation – connecting with other people, businesses and the online community, in general. But, we can’t be stupid about it. It’s not that we need to be hypocritical about who we are (or what our business is/does), but we just need to be¬†aware of the fact that ANYTHING we write on a Facebook page or blog somewhere or whatever can and will be seen by people all over the Internet.

I don’t know if it’s been determined as legal or not, but potential employers will search for you and your name out there. Potential mothers-in-law will do the same! (or worse yet, fathers-in-law!) So, whether personal or professional, when you finally take the step into online social networking (or if you already have), be smart. The world is watching!

Matt White