The popularity of Facebook has many business and professional people embracing it as their social media solution. But using Facebook for business networking is like forcing a round peg into a square hole. Facebook was built for PERSONAL socializing, and we should keep it that way.
Take a look at Facebook’s core functionality, and it’s clear that its original intent was for personal socializing. (For those who don’t remember, it was originally built for students only.) You don’t “poke” a professional colleague. (At least I don’t.) And you would never dream of writing an unsolicited comment on a colleague’s wall for everyone else to see.
You typically don’t list your political and religious views when you introduce yourself to a potential client. And while they might be revealed during conversation over lunch or a drink, you don’t usually provide business colleagues with a thorough accounting of your interests, favorite music, and favorite tv shows, etc. Quite honestly, they are beside the point.
And consider, for a moment, the Facebook functionality that enables a “friend” to tag the photo for anyone else to see. What does this utility have to do with business networking at all?
The final strike against Facebook as a business or professional networking tool is the blurring of boundaries that occurs. Many people – myself included – started their Facebook account for personal use, never dreaming that it would morph into a business and professional tool. So now we are confronted with the decision whether to accept business associates as friends, knowing that there is this past and future personal information that we may not want to share with professional colleagues.
There are perfectly good and appropriate alternatives to Facebook for business connections, such as LinkedIn and Plaxo. They have features and functionality more in keeping with professional relationships. I think we should use them, and keep Facebook safe for personal relationships.