Your privacy is in your control. In other words, you can worry a little less about who friends you and if you have “to quit them” or not.
I’ve had quite a few conversations with clients and friends that hail back to a previous post where I proposed a Social Spectrum. The post was in reaction to technical shortcomings for filtering and creating dynamic privacy–the situational rules you create for “you on display”–on SocialNetworks. Better tools are emerging, but they remain largely hidden and “opt-in” by nature. You have to actively place rules on your media SocialMedia, but it can be done.
The premise behind the original post was that everyone enters SocialMedia from different perspectives and experiences, around a variety of media and interests, with different expectations and comfort-levels about revealing parts of themselves to others and, ultimately, to the search cloud. There are cultural, gender and age divisions that inform how active and open you might be as you approach and develop SocialMedia competencies.
For the purpose of addressing my closest colleague’s concerns, I divided the range of SocialMedia into an axis for private and public as well as one for personal and professional. This spectrum has remained relevant as I’ve discussed SocialNetworking connections with new clients, partners and vendors at all levels of seniority in their organization. Here’s a recent paraphrased example:
Me: I realized after friending several people in the organization that not everyone’s comfortable with connecting on Facebook. Most prefer LinkedIn for professional connects.
Her: Yeah, you’re still sitting in my pending list. I’m expecting a lecture.
Me: The lecture is mine. I should ask if there’s an interest in connecting in the invitiation message. Go ahead and delete. We’ll find other ways to share that you’re more comfortable with.
Some senior-level newbies to SocialNets are concerned by the appearance of intimacy and access beyond what they would allow in real life (IRL). Some, fresh out of college, are used to friending quickly but think twice when a tagged photo hits their socialgraph from a college friend. They haven’t had to modulate between friends and colleagues before. Some opt-out, ignore or block access to their socialgraph risking professional embarrassment of a lesser nature. Redefining their Social Spectrum becomes an active effort.
For myself, I follow the same rules I would IRL: I have appropriate and clear boundaries. I don’t accept friends or associates that I wouldn’t run into IRL through one of my many interests. I block when someone or something becomes inappropriate as you would expect.
Unlike IRL, I don’t have to listen to an overly chatty person (which some have accused me of being based on an active twitterstream, btw). The great news is that technology offers you the ability to filter content and even people. Twitter reader/management applications like TweetDeck and DestroyTwitter allow you to group the people you want to hear from most. Facebook has added a “like” link on each item that shows up in your SocialGraph which will eventually optimize people and topics you like to see most from you friends. And, with a little work, you can also tune your Facebook settings to hear the right signal-to-noise for anyone or thing. As Facebook connect becomes more widespread you’ll be able to take these same privacy settings with you out in the wild of the web.
Below is a great tutorial on the subject. Enjoy and let us know what else you use for filtering in the comments.