When Social Media Sharing Is Exactly What We Need (And When It’s Too Much)

I was giving a presentation on social media to clients recently and almost inevitably the topic of privacy came up. “We’ve all seen people change their relationship status from ‘Married’ to ‘It’s complicated’ to ‘single.’ And that’s awkward in business.”

“What a great time to talk about Facebook’s privacy settings!” I replied. With the changes to Facebook and the new way that updates are posted to friends’ profile pages, I encourage anyone who’s using Facebook for both business and personal purposes to customize their privacy settings. Assuming you don’t need your colleagues to know about every bump in your relationships, go to Settings – Privacy Settings – News Feed & Wall and uncheck the box that says “Show activity when I Change relationship status.” You may also want to do the same for comment on photos and videos as well. (You can also create friend lists and customize your settings further.)

On the other hand, at the same time I was giving this presentation and we were discussing the boundaries of information to share, a colleague was sitting with a sick child in the hospital where cell phones were not allowed but free Wi-Fi was available. She was able to use Facebook to keep concerned family and friends up to date and reassured without having to leave or make dozens of phone calls. She said, “Sure, a few extra people might have gotten the information, but it was the easiest and most efficient way to tell everyone what was going on. I still called my mom of course.”

Do you think people share too much? Or is it just the most efficient way to tell everyone what’s going on?

Lisa Crotty

Marketing Manager

Lisa is a Senior Optimization Specialist at Innate – her friends even teased that she A/B tested her name change. Lisa studied Philosophy of Science & Technology at Virginia Tech and is always asking why.

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