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bridging the web 2.0 gap: when social networking means different things to different people

By August 27, 2008Networking, The Business

As you all know, I enjoy me some online social networking. I like my Facebook, my Twitter, my LinkedIn in particular. But, lately, I’m noticing this clash of the generations (or sensibilities, perhaps?).

Basically, people are using these networks for one of three reasons:

1.  business activities

2. personal activities

3. a mixture of the two

But what happens when these groups bump into each other?

Sometimes it’s okay. For instance,  I do love catching up with my high school friends on Facebook, and when I market my business and my blog there, they’re potential clients…it is a network, you know. And at least they all have jobs(ish) and understand that I’m making a living.

But then, my nieces friend me and they’re 13 and they put up ridiculous pictures of me from family gatherings. And my sister-in-law writes ‘stuff’ on my wall that I don’t want anyone else to see because she’s 23 and using Facebook in its original configuration – as an online yearbook of sorts for the college set.

None of this is a huge deal – I can delete and manage my page…but I find it fascinating to watch as Facebook grows and builds into something more professional and business networky than it once was. And, I’m enthralled by the friend numbers that the younger folk have – think of the network at their fingertips when they grow up and have something really important to share. Hmmm, guess I shouldn’t delete them as friends, they’re holding some prime real estate…oh, and I love them, they’re family after all.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Sylke says:

    Great post! I, too, started a Facebook page for work purposes, and was amazed at how within a week, old high school friends found me and started contacting me. I’m a Gen X’er and am having a VERY hard time with mixing business with pleasure. But this is a different era, where it’s ok to use Facebook, Twtter, LinkedIn, MySpace, et. al. for work and for fun. I just don’t know if I will ever really get used to it!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hi Sylke…perfect example…it happened to me today! I say, follow your gut – if it doesn’t feel so great, it probably isn’t.
    Thanks for reading…and writing!
    Talk soon,

  • Gem says:


    I share the same sentiments with you. My profile is on Friendster (more famous in Asia) and I also have this mix of old school classmates, former office mates, relatives and other people. Most of them have their own jobs too.

    Sometimes I prefer to hide this profile from people I’ve worked with professionally because I don’t want to give the wrong impression.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Great to see you here again, Gem! This is a great point – you can keep things separate! Privacy is still an option…right? sort of? we hope?

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