Mum’s the word

The rise of social networking has led to an explosion of people sharing details from what they had for dinner to grievances at work to spats with lovers.

I cringe when I read some of the postings from my social networking contacts. I have mixed feelings about social networking sites — they are a necessary tool for someone in the news, marketing and other publicity industries because so many people use them. It’s like an arms race to keep up with what the competition is doing online. But I’m a reserved person by nature, and sharing details of my life goes against my inclination.

Sharing certain information on the Internet is not only unsafe but bad professionally. You’re upset over some issue at work? I understand how you feel. I’ve faced my share of frustrating situations at work. But I would urge you to think twice before sharing that information. It’s unprofessional to air your workplace grievances to those outside the company. You can harm both your current job and your ability to find a job in the future. Businesses scan such sites to learn what people are saying about them and to study people who apply for a job. Perhaps restricting who can view your profile will help against a basic search, but what about the people already on your friend list? They can and possibly will talk to other people. It’s like keeping a secret — once you tell one person, it’s no longer a secret.

Venting can be good for a person’s emotional health. If you’re unable to share your frustrations with a friend, I urge you to write your thoughts in a journal (the old-fashion way, in a book) or in a private blog that you allow no one else to view, not even your close friends.

Social networking is a good tool for business promotion and keeping up with the general happenings in your friends’ and relatives’ lives. There are plenty of personal observations that a person can safely share with others. But some issues should be kept to a private discussion with a select group of confidants. Doing this shows you have good emotional intelligence.


About Jason Reynolds
I'm a reporter, blogger, husband and aspiring author. When I'm not working, spending time with the family, or reading (which is quite a bit), I enjoy cooking, traveling, photography and wrangling my family's cats and chickens.

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