Why your social graph should be bigger (not smaller)

Map of Top 50 UK PR people and followers (via flickr.com/photos/porternovelli)

I meet a lot of people who are interested in segmenting their social graphs — keeping Facebook for friends, Twitter for fun, and keeping business contacts, well, focused on business — and they are missing something.

It’s Too Hard

It’s really hard today to remember how you met someone when co-workers can friend you on Facebook, people you meet at a conference can connect to you on LinkedIn, and any number of people can find you on Twitter. I fully respect the need of some to separate out their lives so that they can maintain separation between the areas of their life, and my opinion is that spending time filtering and segmenting your social graph takes away from the very benefits that happen when your social graph is bigger.

Make Friends and Influence People (classic advice, still applicable today)

I think there are two specific benefits to increasing the size of your social graph: you can make connections between people more easily, and you can answer questions related to your interests and spark conversations. First, think of the last time you looked for a job: did you answer a classified ad or fill out a form online, or ask a friend? It turns out that the vast majority of jobs available are referred by friends or “loose ties” (I think the figure is about 85%), so don’t you want your social graph to be able to feed you the kind of jobs and opportunities that you want? By this, I mean if you’re already engaging in the communities where you’d like to be included, you’re more likely to come up in conversation the next time someone in that community is looking for a leader.

How can you engage, you say? It’s easy – do what you already do in real life: have conversations. There are plenty of ways to help, and they don’t take all of your time. You can send someone an email when you are moved by something they wrote or something they did. You can comment on an item on a Facebook Business page. You can answer a question on a Twitter hash tag (you can even use tools like InboxQ, which find the questions people are asking on a specific keyword on Twitter, and gives you a console to answer them right within the Chrome Browser.)

The Bigger the Social Graph, the More Accurate the Recommendation Set

This may seem like counterintuitive advice, but I think that the bigger your social graph, you will receive more accurate recommendations from other systems (so long as these systems take into account your activity and not just your membership.) By using your own activity as the signal, they’ll be able to cut through the noise in your ever-growing social graph – even if you can’t do it manually. So build your social graph as big as you want, and engage with the people who interest you – the fine-grained controls and recommendations will be better for you than for your friends who insist on controlling the information flow for themselves. Is this less private? (Probably.) But it also opens up amazing opportunities that otherwise would not exist.


119 thoughts on “Why your social graph should be bigger (not smaller)

Add yours

  1. So this begs the question: do you recommend friending people you do not really “know” on Facebook? Is this just smart social marketing…or a potentially dangerous biz practice?

    1. It really depends- Facebook has tools that enable you to filter your posts and if you’re organized- you can easily prevent people from seeing what you don’t want them to see.

      I have found though, that the “friending” thing is more of a critical social *networking* aspect, less a social *marketing* one.

    2. It’s about meaningful networking, not just networking. Like spam and free credit card offers, why introduce noise into your social life? You’d do better by simply talking to people in your interests and connecting via mytwitface later. Then again, this actually means work.

      Which isn’t to say that the internet isn’t a good place to network — I’ve “met” many peer music composers who I’d add to facebook via internet forums and blogs.

    3. Mikalee –

      Thanks for your question.
      I advocate sharing information at the level you would expect to be public.
      This won’t work for everyone, obviously – some people have legitimate needs to be private – and I’m just pointing out that if you expand your social graph you’ll open yourself up to more opportunities. It’s true that there is more risk correlated with being more open – and it’s a continuum that you have to navigate to find the right place for you.


      1. But why restrict your networks to only public ones? I’d like to share photos of my family with certain friends and family, but not make them public. Keeping a private Facebook alongside a public Twitter makes that possible.

  2. I like Mikalee Byerman’s question. Lately I have been reevaluating my FB stance. When I first got it, I think I added and accepted just about anyone. Now, after adding photos and sharing my life, it feels so personal! Regarding my personal Twitter account, I have left it open for anyone to see and follow. I don’t mind using that as a social graph platform.

    1. Thanks – this can be a great solution, so long as you are diligent about your Facebook privacy settings, which can be a minefield to navigate.
      I use my Twitter account (@grmeyer) as a public platform, and bolster that with other accounts – and if someone cares enough to email or message me, I write them back. If they engage, they’re usually civil and I’ve learned a lot from these conversations (and even made some lifelong friends.)



  3. I have a page for my store on Facebook and a then there is me on Facebook what is nice right now with Facebook I can switch between the two while I am on there. So when I go to the page for the store I can post as N.J. Diamonds so the logo for the store will show in the time line. I at one time was with several different social medias now I am down to FB and Twitter just got to be to much.

  4. Mik’s (if I can call her that) question has been debated a lot in the online community, but everybody’s forgotten about it now.
    Is friending someone you don’t know good to build your social graph?
    Well, for starters, I’d suggest something. If your Facebook page is meant to be private and you have something there you wouldn’t want potential business associates to see, you shouldn’t friend them. Now, I know very well that this argument leads to another one: how do you know whether the person can be a business associate?
    To me, that’s pretty simple. I’m a freelancer, and so I usually dig up a little information on the people I work with before I work with them. That’s practical enough. I would avoid friending the person if I couldn’t find anything on them.
    Another thing I do nowadays is keep two Facebook profiles. Not one a page and the other your profile, but TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT profiles. This is way easier for me, as the one that’s private is the one for people I totally, surely, 100% know, and the other one is for potential business partners or people I don’t really “know”.
    If I can add something, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Totally worth the honor!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

    1. Ashley –
      Thanks for your thoughts and for the kind words. I agree that you should think about the implications to your network when you friend someone. When you friend them, you’re also friending their friends (which most of the time is good.)

      Starting with the end in mind (that you want to maintain one network, or multiple separate networks, as you suggest) will also help – great idea!



    1. B.C. –
      Thanks for your comment – I agree!
      Oftentimes your content is syndicated and you don’t even know where it’s going to show up.

  5. I prefer staying under the radar. I recently cleaned out my Facebook when I realized there were people there that I did not know. If I do not know you personally or cannot verify how you found me, you won’t be accepted. Facebook is not a “safe” place to be sharing information. Because of my blog and my background, I get a few threats in comments and emails. I would advise everyone who spends a great deal of time in the social network to proceed with caution. You should be cautious in your blog and think twice about how much personal stuff you want to be sharing. I have recently taken down some blogs I made about my family because of a “group” that takes issue with my past experiences working in paramilitary security. Social networking is a wonderful tool when used wisely.
    Congrats on FP.

    1. J –
      Thanks for your thoughts and your perspective. I agree that you should be mindful of what information you post because once you do – it’s out there.

  6. I think it all depends on who you are and what your goals in life are. As a recording artist I want to expose my name brand and my music to as many people as I can all over the world. So I do use all of the social networking sites (like this one too) to get my message and music out there.

    I keep my cell phone number only for friends and family…so there are boundaries.

    Good information! Congrats on being FP



  7. Great article, and I really appreciate the helpful advice. I’m always interested in what people think about connecting with others on social media sites and how far people actually connect with acquaintances they meet online.

    1. kgear3 –
      I think if you ask three people, you’ll get (at least) three answers. Your comfort level about connecting with people on social sites is one determinant; your willingness to meet new people is another; and there is always chance.

      I generally don’t connect to people if I haven’t met them in real life, but I will definitely talk to anyone.



  8. Hmmm. Interesting blog. I enjoy my social graph within the limits of my personal comfort zone. I am involved in the medical profession, so obviously my security on FB and other sites are quite high. Frequently, I google my name on internet to make sure that my security remains high. I don’t want any random angry patient able to access all my information at their leisure. However, I have found FB to be very helpful in a variety of ways: from free advice, job opportunities, mission opportunities, social events and more.

    1. ThisCanuckGirl –
      Thanks for your thoughts! I can certainly understand that as a Medical Professional you need to maintain your security. Appreciate your perspective and glad to hear that you have found a good way to interact.

  9. I gave up Facebook because of the privacy issue but I found the right type community (the professional kind) on WordPress. I communicate with people and they get to know me and I in return learn from them.

  10. All questions I had have already been answered and remarks have already been made, so I’ll just add up and say: Great article!

  11. I really enjoy how this post focuses on the individual. Increasingly, almost ubiquitously, the rise of ‘socialized’ media and communications platforms are discussed in terms of their commercial potential, how to reach more customers, how to involve the user in product creation and delivery, ‘seamlessness’, and all kinds of other buzzwords more at home in defense no-bid contract language than the public civilian realm.

    I’m not really bitter, although the above might suggest differently, but you do point out something that often goes missing from discussion: these tools are great….simply for conversation! I correspond with an enormous range of people, a mutual dialogue that is enabled and continues to grow as a result of social technology. Its great just talking to people, exploring opportunities for growth, exchanging thoughts and ideas.

    That all probably sounds cliche, because it is, but thats probably unavoidable. The electronic version of Anthony Appiah’s ‘Cosmopolitanism’ is pretty fun though.

    1. Devin –
      Cliches and stereotypes exist – at least partly – because they ring true for many people. I enjoy the ability to virtually “meet” people I’ve never seen in person, many of whom I will never meet in person, because they share their ideas and give me the ability to have a conversation.

      As you suggest, having a conversation and meeting other like-minded people is one of the paramount reasons that social media exists! I wish this had been around a few years ago, but I feel like I’m making up for lost time in learning new ideas and meeting new people.

      Thanks for your comments!


  12. I liken Facebook to blogging in some ways. My blog is out there. It is very important to me and it is personal because it is about my life. Will everyone who happens upon it act responsibly with the info? Probably not. Is that worth the risk to feel like I am connecting with people I would normally never have the chance to interact with? I think so. I will say that at times I have cringed when posting a link to my blog on my facebook page as I know that what I have just written is not something I would normally share around the watercooler at the office. It can be a fuzzy line and a tricky one to navigate but, one that has been immensely rewarding.

    1. Mairzeebp –

      Thanks for your thoughts. We’ve all had that moment upon posting something and thinking, “maybe that was better left in my head.” Yet if you don’t do that once in a while you’ll miss the serendipitous benefit that often comes from writing a great blog post, meeting a new friend, or making a connection where none existed. Communication takes practice (which means sometimes you won’t communicate well), and brings rewards.


  13. Thumbs up for the post!!! I neglected fb for quite awhile then finally made an account and now I rather use it to make contacts.. its pure work related thing to stay in touch with people and promote whateva i’m doing.
    Good topic!

  14. Great graphic and sound advice!
    You’re right, going out of your way to compartmentalize your life so that lines between friendship and co-workership don’t get blurred is a lot of work. It can create negative inertia that could slow down your personal and professional growth.

    1. Maryct70 –
      Thanks and I agree with you – you risk a little by putting yourself out there but gain as well in ways that you couldn’t have achieved without a little risk.


  15. Interesting theory – but, being a someone with a few social-skills hang-ups, I am a little apprehensive about mixing the people I work with (FaceBook) and the people I socialise with on Twitter.

    For me it’s akin to maintaining that ‘work/life balance’. I like having my Twitter followers (friends?) to myself and don’t want to mix them with the people on FaceBook (colleagues).

    Thought provoking blog – congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    1. Mark –
      Thanks for your comment and for the kind words. Obviously, everyone needs to make a personal choice as to whether they are going to try to separate personal and work networks – I’ve found that combining them has been to my benefit.

  16. I would have to agree with you in respect to having a larger social graph can lead to more ears in the right location. However, I would argue that there still needs to be a separation within each realm. If you have the same message being pushed to all three of the big three in social media (Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn) I find that you are actually pushing your connections away. If you have individuals in your network that are connected on all three levels then they get the same message three times.
    I find that Im far more successful in tailoring each message and post to the site im using. Yes it is a little more time consuming, however I have large networks on all three and more engagement out of each.

    1. Joseph –

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that you have to be careful about over-broadcasting and with saturating your audience with the same message. I tend to segment my communication by medium instead of by network, and then let people connect with me in the channel that works best for them. For Twitter I tend to share links and have conversations; Facebook I have conversations; and I tend to answer questions in LinkedIn rather than post information. But the blend also is changing over time.


  17. I kinda disagree with this. For me personally, I’ve found, the more friends I have on facebook the less connected I become to all of them. Social networking is a very straining activity and whether it be through email, text, calls, or facebook it takes time and energy and only so much can be done.
    Anyways, all I’m saying is that the quality of connections increases when the quantity decreases.

    1. Red –
      Thanks for your feedback! I agree that if you try to have the same sort of connection with every one of your contacts that the quality of communication goes down. Personally, I try to focus on the person, and then have the conversation whereever that person communicates (some of my friends are only on FB, others only on Twitter, others in lots of networks.) I also don’t obsess about spending time on Social Networks and just treat it as conversation – it’s cut into my TV time, but I didn’t watch that much TV to begin with – and focus on the interaction while I’m in the moment.


  18. Great advice! I prefer to keep my FB page for just family and friends, but I’m definitely using Twitter to build a community (as Kristen Lamb says). I love that technology allows us all to connect no matter what separates us.

  19. What great advise! Working through Social Media means a need to connect all the dots. Do you feel that someone should have all the accounts, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and whatever else is out there? Or should people trying to control there interest keep it to one or two of those?

    1. Ascentive –
      Thanks for your question.
      I think that you should engage where you feel comfortable. Many people feel that Facebook is all they need, especially if they’re not broadcasting. You might find that just reading people’s tweets at http://search.twitter.com. Or you might want to start sharing information or “liking” or “commenting.” And perhaps you might even want to start composing, whether it’s writing tweets or a blog. Really, it’s up to you to find an interesting, engaging way to spend your time with social media (if you want to.)


  20. My Facebook rule is: If I never met you in real life, I’m not going to be your friend on Facebook. My blog is my blog, written mostly for me, I don’t really care if anyone else reads it.

  21. That’s true. Social networking really can’t help find jobs. But keep in mind:
    1. don’t friend your boss
    2. if you are unfortunately friend your boss already (like me 😦 …), dont writing any thing about your job/ looking for job in your status, unless you blog that message to your boss

    1. TweeCo –
      Thanks for your comments. I solve the boss problem this way: I would feel comfortable saying anything to my boss that I would write. If I wouldn’t feel comfortable or authentic presenting the information to my boss, why should I share it with people whom I don’t know?


  22. Interesting point of view, and very counterintuitive to what I’d previously believed. When I thought about it, I heard about my last job from a friend and my current one from a friend of a a friend. I guess I shouldn’t try so hard to keep everything separate!

    1. MyBakingEmpire-
      Thanks for your comments. It’s really up to you – for some people, it’s quite important to keep different part of their lives separate. For me, I’ve found that there were great benefits from combining the different parts of my life and that these benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

  23. Yeah, but you still need to practice discretion. I have a friend who sold his company and wanted to reenter the job market. Meanwhile he had blogged about his heart attack at age 50 and the incredible medical team that pulled him back from the dead. Then he was out jobsearching and found out that he wasn’t getting the jobs because employers saw his facebook and his writer’s blog about his health (even though he was okay by then, they were scared off by his preexisting condition). So if you’re going to comingle all your social contacts, you need to censor and screen yourself. I think that’s why most people want to keep it separated, anonymous, or whatever.

    1. Katyallgeyer –
      Thanks for your comments. I agree 100% that there are certain thoughts, ideas, and comments you might not or should not share in a public forum. I also think it’s really hard (or impossible) to know that those supposedly “private” ideas will stay private forever. So I try and act as if the information’s already public, and don’t share private things online.

  24. And one more reason for having a lot of (unnecessary) connections – it creates a white nose, which makes it harder for Big Brother associates (like HBGarry) to pin-point “real you”: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/the-ridiculous-plan-to-attack-wikileaks.ars

    An another good point is that separation of your social networking by target audience should not be taken lightly. What would you do if your coworker found your “personal” incarnation on FaceBook and asked for a friend status? Will you reject him and offer a connection to your “business” avatar on LinkedIn instead?

    It’s an interesting paradox of the social media – the more fully and freely you express yourself on the net, the more abstract and disconnected from the real you your avatar has to be. And vice versa – the more personal information you share, the more self-restricted, bleak and un-distinctive version of yourself you can afford to offer to the world…

    1. Selitskiy –
      Thanks for your thoughts, and an interesting paradox indeed. I think it reflects the true nature of people – that we are not easily reducible to stereotypes when you actually get to know someone – and although it’s more complicated to think about, it also feels more authentic.


  25. Great post! Facebook is still primarily for personal networking, though more and more companies are building pages on Facebook (used to be called “fan pages;” apparently that term’s now passe). Twitter is definitely useful professionally as a valuable marketing platform, and of course if you’re in almost any field or are job-hunting, you HAVE to have a LinkedIn profile, lest you be rendered professionally invisible.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    1. Laurie –
      Thanks for your comments! I’m not sure I could say definitively any more “what” Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn are for; for me, they’re all about people. And these people tend to hang out in different places (and even sometimes talk differently when they’re in some of them.) I’m just glad to have the conversations 😉


  26. I don’t care how it helps or hinders me, I have no desire to communicate with the people I work with outside of work. I’m already fully aware they are mental without reading up on their mindless status messages.

  27. Yeah I tried to keep it all separate but my Twitter became less solely photography based and more on random thoughts and topic. My blog updates onto my Twitter and my blog name is my Facebook name. So it’s all getting blurred into one.

    1. Squarebrackets –
      My experience parallels yours. I used to have (what I thought were) very rigid rules separating social graphs and groups of people. And then all of a sudden there were these exceptions. When I realized there were more exceptions than rules it was easier to do just go with the flow 😉

  28. Thank you for the post! =) I don’t have a big network– i don’t usually add people in my friends list if i don’t know them and i usually put some restrictions in my account for some personal reasons. Maybe beacuse i’m not so comfortable engaging in personal talks with stranger. growing your network in facebook and such may sometimes need to open your life to people that are in your list including those you know only by their username used–stranger. and with this you will get both good comments and not so good. =) there are even some posting pictures and videos that might compromise my value. So, for some reason i put restrictions. But, your blog allows me to see things differently. Thank you so much! I so hope that people that’ll be added in someone elses page or network will be responsible and cautious enough to post good and constructive comments thus, building a good and beneficial social network. cheers!! =)

    1. My Camera, My Friend –
      Thanks for the perspective, and I don’t think it’s wrong at all to segment networks. The approach I detailed above works for me, but isn’t right if you’re not comfortable with the idea.

  29. Such a conundrum. Thanks to your post and to all the discussion here, I’m thinking of friending you on Facebook. Clearly a great post, as it’s given a lot of us something to think about. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  30. I’ve got the facebook thing down but still working on the twitter thing. And trying to understand all of it. haha. I’m a little confused with all the signs.

  31. This is about as far as I go on social networking, though this probably can’t be counted because I keep myself anonymous with my WordPress account and who I am for a reason. My mom uses social network for stalking too much and I don’t want to be a crazy stalker like she is, so I stay away from it personally. Congrats on getting freshly pressed!

  32. I disagree with what you’re trying say and tell people to experience. People who are very socially versed do not have to be everywhere to be everywhere. Just because you ‘know’ 300 people on facebook does not mean you actually influence them in any shape or form.

    Twitter, Facebook their ilk only serve to be socially connected at a distance, they become very passive tools. And even if you are trying to make yourself know to 300 people, then you would be spending a lot of effort for minimal gain.

    Know who your good friends are and connect with them. They will network you far better and more naturally than randomly adding someone or following someone’s twitter.

    1. Reading your post and other people’s comments make me go one way of thinking then another way, like a pendulum. 🙂 I guess there’s really no right or wrong on how to go about it. It’s all a personal choice and what we feel comfortable with and what we want to gain from it.

      Good article! Thank you!

    2. Have you read Kristen Lamb’s book We Are Not Alone or checked out her blog? Wonderful information on how building an online community can work wonders for writers and any other business. It’s all in how it’s built though.

  33. Very interesting perspective on social media. Initially, I had over a thousand friends on facebook because of my various roles on-campus, which allowed me to be in the ‘public eye,’ so to speak. Recently, I removed a lot of the ‘friends’ I made simply from those positions and made an effort to expand my LinkedIn profile (for professional ventures).

    Maybe that decision was in vain. I suppose only time will tell…

    With Love and Gratitude,


  34. Yes, engage!

    And I agree that instead of seeing our social networks as a burden, they actually help us to connect with more people and communities through communication. Conversation is best way to start.

    Thanks for this post. It’s a simple but essential reminder for anyone who realize that they live in the era of social network.

  35. Really helpful and insightful post. I like that you kept it simple and to the point. As a life coach who is trying to forward the message of health and wellness it is extremely important to me to be connected and reach a wide range of people. I am trying, but still have a LOT to learn.

  36. I also agree that the bigger my social network, the better opportunities will come. I also agree with the last comment that “… [t0] ‘know’ 300 people on facebook does not mean you actually influence them in any shape or form”.

    The thing is, In “current” social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter… etc), we still have control how we use it, how far we use it. In general, social graphs can be so dynamic. In every society, there are actors and key players. I have met a lot of great people in my facebook, who are not my friends in ‘physical’ life. In the same time, my physical graph is also getting increasing and complicated. I can’t imagine keeping all these nice people in contact without social media.

    This is social media driven world! Let’s keep it growing.

  37. Thanks Greg, excellent post and I’ll Tweet it. I’ve read all the comments and to maybe take this a tiny bit farther: If we take pride in our core strengths, realizing we are versatile and that our current job does not define the future for us, because indeed every job is temporary, and that your next bosses can only hire you after they know you, and that referrals are how bosses hear of you — you’ll realize why it limits your own freedom to create the life and work you want if on socnets you express yourself in a bad light or put anybody else down. We are each in charge of getting the kind of work and life we want so making comments or having contacts on social media that are not kind, true and constructive and aligned with the life you mean to live — is the stuff to delete/unfriend/quit. Your public record (ideas, contacts, and ethics) sets the stage for what you then get to go do offline. Go have a one on one conversation with the boss you want next. Talk with them before you need a new boss. Because, as a professional career advisor for 20 years, I agree with Greg that c o n v e r s a t i o n s are how work, jobs and projects are awarded. This has been true for hundreds of years actually. We hire people we or those we know and trust have already met. HR is an optional service to management, but is never in charge. Bosses are, and they are people. Your online image creates the backdrop for conversations you are free to then go hold offline. And by conversation, I mean asking questions about the other guy’s situation and goals, not selling yourself and your past history. Ask, listen, and you’ll be told exactly why you’d be needed. If you can do the things they need done, say so. Voila- you are the one the boss picks because you are familiar now and were so easy for them to hire. And HR just completes the paperwork. Over 2/3rds of my speech audiences are surprised to remember that this is pretty much how they got every job actually. Chatting. So know your best self and show it online. Then meet.

  38. Hey There!

    Interesting post. I like the idea that one can influence others through social mediums such as Facebook and Twitter, though I have to agree that attempting to connect with random strangers will not be successful. However, I do agree that connecting more effectively with your good friends will wield positive results!

    Keep up the good work.

  39. Not sure I really agree… I love the ability to separate the network to meet my needs… I agree that the ‘bigger your social graph, you will receive more accurate recommendations from other systems’ though I’m not sure if this can’t be achieved by focussing on the quality of one’s communication with people you know vs. don’t know. It’s uncomfortable knowing that a stranger can read my personal updates on facebook so I would never friend them though I can change that communication for twitter where I know strangers will read it.

  40. This is a really great blog. And it’s so true!! Everyone now a days says its not what you know but who you know! And that is why it is very important to make sure you try to stay rememberable to everyone you come across! Awesome picture too! 🙂

  41. I totally agree with you on this, and yes I have spent a lot of time trying to separate all of my social media networks. After a while it became too confusing and too time consuming, then I realized that it’s better to have them all connected. I make sure I am careful with what I post now that I have more than just friends on my FB page. but other than that it’s opened a lot more doors for me then I originally realized!
    Congrats on Freshly pressed… I’m working towards this… with a long way to go!

  42. Great post Greg… Three things jump to mind, 1) if you haven’t read it take a look at “Are You a LION, Turtle, HoundDog, or Alley Cat? What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?” 2) a number of folks are not really aware of the social science behind social networks, they can learn about the empirical value of a larger network reading about Weak Ties – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_ties 3) People that think they can keep a wall between their professional and personal persona online (and maybe offline as well) are fighting an uphill battle, I don’t I need or want to be best friends with every one of my business relationships. I shouldn’t be surprised if they comment about something I didn’t share directly with them, but posted on a “closed” network… Cut & paste and/or a re-post with attribution can surprise folks if they are not careful. Another approach is to be as transparent as possible and not get caught up “managing” your persona(s), just be yourself.

  43. I really enjoyed this blog post, it made me think alot about creating a bigger social graph for myself. This post helped me to realize that social media can be very beneficial to yourself, before this I never realized it could be more than a way to keep in contact with people. Thanks.

  44. I read this post a while back– when it was on the first page of freshly pressed, and I just had to go look for it again to tell you that it’s a such a great article. I’ve been mulling about it for some days now. And I just want to share a concrete situation in which I think your idea is the dead-on solution.

    My friend’s been having a terrible time looking for work. Most of his applications are coursed through online ad’s and only rarely through referrals from friends. It baffled us because even though he has a great resume, he rarely gets to the interview stage. I surmised that online ads (which receives hundreds of responses) aren’t really the the most effective sources. More effectively are, as you wrote, referrals from loose ties– which he almost never has.

    Ah, so herein lies my friend’s problems. (I actually referred your article to him, hoping it be the salve to his troubles. ) The problem is when your “online image” doesn’t really fit in with “the kind of person you want to be”. My friend is an intelligent business major who’s enthusiastic about world market and investments and such. He wants to get a corporate job along those lines. But the problem is, he is primarily known as a movie and game buff and and easygoing guy. And those who respond to him are, of course, not the people who like the financial stuff, but friends who like movies and games, and people who just like goofing around.

    The problem gets worse when your network is primarily composed of these kinds of people, and you want to transition or enter into a new ‘community.’ Hence, little means of sourcing job referrals. Little means of being informed of the stuff you actually like.

    Thanks for the great article. 🙂

    1. abbikinni –
      Thanks for your kind words. It sounds like your friend either needs to be the business partner for some movie and game buffs, or he needs to embrace his inner gamer 😉

      In all seriousness, I agree with you that social media often makes it plain that the work we are doing is not the work we most enjoy, and at that point we have to decide whether having a satisfying job is better than having a maximized job (one we like the most.) I’m not here to tell you that one is better than the other – only that you should choose and that will make you much happier than being a maximizer stuck in a satisfier type job (e.g. a music buff stuck in a corporate job.) Both have their merits, and it’s much better to get the thing you know you want.


  45. Your point is well made. I personally segment my social networking tools because of what comes in, not what goes out. I don’t want all those promotions and pitches in my personal/hobby network. They annoy me and I feel used. That’s why I keep my social/social limited to people in whom I have genuine interest. If they start overwhelming with pitches, I drop them. Your own contributions are a perfect example. You always have a good mix of topics, links and comments. You respond to me and others personally, not as a marketer of a product and you keep it real. So when you pitch me something, I am not annoyed. You also keep that to a minimum.

  46. I have managed to include both my Facebook and Twitter in a personal and semi-professional life. I am a fair believer that you always want to show exactly who you are for a company to whom you are interested in working for and it makes no sense to have a strictly personal and strictly professional site. Now, I am not posting naked pictures on my page nor am I allowing my friends to post vulgar messages on my pages.

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