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Personal Business, Business Personality, and Social Media: An Interview with Todd Carpenter, NAR

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The Personal IS Business?  Really?
The Personal IS Business? Really?

Sometimes the most innocent of things lead to the most interesting of discussions.  A couple of days ago, I innocently asked whether such-and-such a person worked at such-and-such a company.  Turns out, this was not the right thing to do, because the username I saw was a personal Twitter account, not a business Twitter account.

This is actually one of those things that is endemic in social media, but few of us really talk about.  How do you draw the appropriate line between what is personal and what is business?  Does it make sense to create a business persona for one’s “work social media” while maintaining separation between church and state?

In the case of younger people who are entering the workforce, this can be a big issue.  A twentysomething employee of mine was a very big FaceBooker, but resolutely refused to use it for work — instead preferring to setup a whole separate account and identity for her “Work FaceBook” (now that’s a phrase you literally would never have seen five years ago).  I can’t say I blame her; some of her Facebook friends (rightly) were sharing pictures of her that she wouldn’t want her boss, never mind her business contacts, seeing.

This happens, though, across the social media sphere.  The RE.net’s “Rules of Fight Club” and the “No Cameras After 9PM” rules exist because of the damage otherwise innocent photos and videos can cause thanks to social media.  A picture is just a picture when in someone’s camera and in a photo album; placed on the Internet, it becomes part of your public permanent record.

At the same time, becoming a Business Personality robs social media of its very meaning: human beings connecting authentically to other human beings.  Becoming some sort of a PR flack for a company isn’t amenable to getting to know someone, y’know?  Jeff Turner (@respres) is fond of talking about the importance of Play in social media — and he’s right on that count.

So in hopes of finding some answers, I asked one of the experts for his opinion: Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager of NAR.  Our little Q&A is below the fold.

Todd Carpenter Interview

The following is a transcript of a chat interview I had with Todd Carpenter of National Association of REALTORS, where he works as the first-ever Social Media Manager.  His info can be found here.

–Begin Transcript–

NotoriousROB: So Todd, the balance between the personal and the business in social media is a difficult one to strike. What are your preliminary thoughts on the issue?

Todd Carpenter: “Having a seperate business and personal profile is like showing up to a cocktail party twice. Once in your suit, then in a Hawaiian shirt” This a a quote by a friend of mine, Kit Mueller.

Rob: lol

Todd:  You are who you are. Pealple aren’t going to relate to a pure business profile. You need to be prepared for business and personal profiles to clash, just as they do in real life.

Rob: So as the SM Director of NAR, I know one of your core missions is to train NAR staff on properly using Social Media. What guidance do you provide about the line between personal and business? What’s too personal, for example?

Todd: We are building a set of best practice guidelines to help the staff and leadership at NAR to participate in social media. It’s tricky. The staff needs to feel free to express their personal opinions. But they also need to understand that their profile is higher by participating in social media. So, we mainly just want to show the staff how to be transparent as to when they are speaking for NAR and when they are speaking their own minds

Rob: I imagine you’re meeting some resistance in some quarters… perhaps especially from the younger Gen-Y staff, who worry about what photos their college buddies are going to flag of them on FaceBook. (Though we worry about that too.) What are the big problems you’ve seen, either at NAR or elsewhere, and how do you resolve them?

Todd:  The biggest problem is that pictures are worth a thousand words, but about 900 of them are misunderstood or mis-perceived. For instance, I go to networking functions all the time where cocktails are served. Pictures get taken. Now there are dozens of pictures of me with a drink in my hand. Does it mean I spend every night at the bar? Well yes. [ED: I can vouch for that.]  No not really. [ED: I can vouch for that too, because I was there, and Todd wasn’t.] But it’s still easy to misperceive.

Another example would be pictures taken of one of the staff members on vacation. Sounds weird right?

Rob: What’s wrong with that?

Todd: Staff on vacation? Seems harmless until an agent who’s struggling to make ends meet and feed his/her kids sees a NAR staff member relaxing in the Bahamas. People can misinterpret pictures.  So we are still trying to figure that out.

Rob: So do you think most people err by being too personal, or too business? I mean, posting pics of one’s bedroom gymnastics is probably “too personal”. But on which side of the line do most people err?

Todd:  I think real estate agents largely tend to be too business-y because they are at heart, salespeople. Always marketing. I know I have to purposely turn Mr. Sales Guy off when I participate on social media. The staff at NAR, however, is made up of non-salespeople. Authors, Graphic Designers, IT Geeks… I don’t know of a single staff member who is “too” personal but that would be more likely. However, at least one of the people who competed with me for my job was disqualified based on that person’s Facebook page.

But I think you have to look at how someone conducts themselves online as a measure of their character. If they are over the top unprofessional, that would likely relate to what they are like face to face.

Rob: So @ktgeek (Keith Garner) recently tweeted that he was “outed” before he was ready. What’s that about? How will you be helping NAR staff understand these personal/biz issues? What would your recommendation be to a realtor or a brokerage office looking at all this SM stuff?

Todd: There are members of the NAR staff who I know of that do not want their Twitter presences known to REALTORS. They make no reference to NAR in their profile or tweets. So that’s one way. Others don’t make it a point to announce their employment, but occasionally interact with other NAR employees and occasional tweet about NAR related stuff. I think that’s where Keith was when he was “outed” as NAR staff. That’s the chance those staff members must be willing to accept. Then there are people like me who leverage their personal social media presense. I not only accept it, I embrace it

Rob: That makes a lot of sense; just because someone works for NAR doesn’t mean they should lose his privacy.

–End Transcript–

Questions Remain

It would be impossible to expect one person, even someone whose job is to think about social media for a large national organization, to have all the answers.  Todd gave some great guidance, I thought, but questions remain.

Is it possible to remain authentic, remain human, without going into personal business?

Is personal business even appropriate for social media when it’s used for work and work-related matters?

For that matter, can someone really embracing social media really split the personal from the business?

If how you conduct yourself online is a measure of your character, then should you really hide it with ‘spin’ and ‘professionalism’?  Or do you just let it all hang out and work on your actual character instead?  (Yeah, but you’d still lose that job….)

Is it a worse crime in the social media sphere to be too personal or too business?

Can people see through the business personality as they do through clever ad copy and massaged press releases?

Questions upon questions, and few answers.  What say you?

Or, perhaps as the Bard says,

“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts”

(As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

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Rob Hahn
Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Reading this makes me very thankful that my boss knew me first in social media and hired me anyway. I did start a “business” Twitter profile but quickly discovered that I was still me no matter what I called myself, so I just dropped it.

    If people have to lean more towards personal or professional, I’d pick personal every time. I probably know what you do for business, if I need you or your services I can ask you about them and go to you for help. What I’d rather hear are the silly little details that make you *YOU* – that connects me to you and makes me choose you over all those others when it actually is time to make that business call. Keep it all business and you might as well just be someone in the yellow pages.

  2. Reading this makes me very thankful that my boss knew me first in social media and hired me anyway. I did start a “business” Twitter profile but quickly discovered that I was still me no matter what I called myself, so I just dropped it.

    If people have to lean more towards personal or professional, I’d pick personal every time. I probably know what you do for business, if I need you or your services I can ask you about them and go to you for help. What I’d rather hear are the silly little details that make you *YOU* – that connects me to you and makes me choose you over all those others when it actually is time to make that business call. Keep it all business and you might as well just be someone in the yellow pages.

  3. I feel the need to clarify my “outed” comment. It was 2 to three years ago when Dustin “@tyr” Luther put me on a list of NAR twitters who would be at our annual convention. At the time, I was still getting my twitter legs (think sea legs) under me and was figuring the whole thing out so I could talk to members about it. At the time I was very big into the personal/business account thing.

    My thinking has changed a lot in the past few years. I’m not sure you can seperate the two and ‘to thine own self he true” (to keep the bard theme.). That said, I still try to avoid mentioning my employeer as much as possible. My job is a part of who I am, so naturally, it’ll be something I talk about. (It helps that I’m proud of my work and my general awesomeness… But I digress.). However, I hope I make it clear that I’m rarely speaking for my employeer, especially given my current inward facing position.

    I am more comfortable with the merger these days, but I do try to be respectful of those who may not be. But by not being rigid about it, I interact with some very cool NAR members, some of whom I’d now consider a friend, and getting to know some coworkers who I’d normally not interact with.

    I think a lot of it comes down to trusting yourself to not get yourself in trouble and being comfortable in your own skin. As a father, I certainly don’t want to be unemployed, but if I said something (while being mindful of not getting myself in trouble) and got fired, maybe I was in the wrong place in the first place. Luckily, my employeer and I have a great relationship where I don’t see this issue coming up in the forseeable future.

    And now I’ve babbled long enough from my iPhone. Pardon me for insane phone autocorrection errors. 🙂

  4. I feel the need to clarify my “outed” comment. It was 2 to three years ago when Dustin “@tyr” Luther put me on a list of NAR twitters who would be at our annual convention. At the time, I was still getting my twitter legs (think sea legs) under me and was figuring the whole thing out so I could talk to members about it. At the time I was very big into the personal/business account thing.

    My thinking has changed a lot in the past few years. I’m not sure you can seperate the two and ‘to thine own self he true” (to keep the bard theme.). That said, I still try to avoid mentioning my employeer as much as possible. My job is a part of who I am, so naturally, it’ll be something I talk about. (It helps that I’m proud of my work and my general awesomeness… But I digress.). However, I hope I make it clear that I’m rarely speaking for my employeer, especially given my current inward facing position.

    I am more comfortable with the merger these days, but I do try to be respectful of those who may not be. But by not being rigid about it, I interact with some very cool NAR members, some of whom I’d now consider a friend, and getting to know some coworkers who I’d normally not interact with.

    I think a lot of it comes down to trusting yourself to not get yourself in trouble and being comfortable in your own skin. As a father, I certainly don’t want to be unemployed, but if I said something (while being mindful of not getting myself in trouble) and got fired, maybe I was in the wrong place in the first place. Luckily, my employeer and I have a great relationship where I don’t see this issue coming up in the forseeable future.

    And now I’ve babbled long enough from my iPhone. Pardon me for insane phone autocorrection errors. 🙂

  5. Coming from a relatively new staff member of NAR, I think there is some
    fear that the @realtors.org at the end of one’s identity will carry some
    sort of expectation regarding knowledge of All Things Real Estate. I work
    in IT as a system admin (keeping servers up and running), and though I’m
    learning a lot about the real estate industry, I am well aware that I’m
    very far from being an expert in the day to day issues that a member would
    face.

    If I post, tweet, email, etc anything even marginally relating to real estate with my staff credentials (job title included), I feel like there’s some expectation by the community at large for me to know a lot more than I do outside of my field of expertise, so I keep my mouth shut for fear of making my business-facing counterparts look bad.

    Yes, it’s unreasonable as far as a commonly-held expectation, but I don’t
    think it’s an inaccurate fear. I’ve met real estate professionals who,
    once they spot my business card, ask a bunch of questions regarding
    business and industry issues that a system admin would/should know very
    little about. This isn’t any different than any other industry, I’d guess.
    If I met a financial analyst for AT&T, I’d probably bug them about why my 3G service is so crappy too. It doesn’t mean they can do anything about it,
    and rationally I don’t think it’s fair to expect that of them, but it’s
    just human nature.

    Being identified a part of the organization somehow make you answerable to all facets of it. At least casual observation and life experience seems to indicate that.

  6. Coming from a relatively new staff member of NAR, I think there is some
    fear that the @realtors.org at the end of one’s identity will carry some
    sort of expectation regarding knowledge of All Things Real Estate. I work
    in IT as a system admin (keeping servers up and running), and though I’m
    learning a lot about the real estate industry, I am well aware that I’m
    very far from being an expert in the day to day issues that a member would
    face.

    If I post, tweet, email, etc anything even marginally relating to real estate with my staff credentials (job title included), I feel like there’s some expectation by the community at large for me to know a lot more than I do outside of my field of expertise, so I keep my mouth shut for fear of making my business-facing counterparts look bad.

    Yes, it’s unreasonable as far as a commonly-held expectation, but I don’t
    think it’s an inaccurate fear. I’ve met real estate professionals who,
    once they spot my business card, ask a bunch of questions regarding
    business and industry issues that a system admin would/should know very
    little about. This isn’t any different than any other industry, I’d guess.
    If I met a financial analyst for AT&T, I’d probably bug them about why my 3G service is so crappy too. It doesn’t mean they can do anything about it,
    and rationally I don’t think it’s fair to expect that of them, but it’s
    just human nature.

    Being identified a part of the organization somehow make you answerable to all facets of it. At least casual observation and life experience seems to indicate that.

  7. One reason I believe REALTORS have embraced social media is that they are always REALTORS — at the office, at the little league field, at the grocery store. There is no 9-5, off on the weekends. As such, that brightline between work and personal has ALWAYS been fuzzy. This overlap does (and should) bleed over into social media, if the goal is truly to meet more people and create deeper relationships.

    @KimWood’s Twitter bio starts with “I’m just me!” Is there a more succinct way to answer the question than that?

  8. One reason I believe REALTORS have embraced social media is that they are always REALTORS — at the office, at the little league field, at the grocery store. There is no 9-5, off on the weekends. As such, that brightline between work and personal has ALWAYS been fuzzy. This overlap does (and should) bleed over into social media, if the goal is truly to meet more people and create deeper relationships.

    @KimWood’s Twitter bio starts with “I’m just me!” Is there a more succinct way to answer the question than that?

  9. Great questions & great interview. I’ll give my short answer…

    Just be yourself! If people like you for you, great! If they don’t, no harm no foul.

    That’s what is so wonderful about so many people with so many personalities. There is someone for everyone.

  10. Great questions & great interview. I’ll give my short answer…

    Just be yourself! If people like you for you, great! If they don’t, no harm no foul.

    That’s what is so wonderful about so many people with so many personalities. There is someone for everyone.

  11. I have seen agents use fake names to badmouth fellow Realtors and pick on Alternative Business Models. Most State Licensing Laws require that agents identify themselves by their real names when talking in public about real estate. Hiding behind fake names to do things that are against the Code of Ethics or against the Law is a no-no, but I have seen it several times.

    I think it’s perfectly fine, and appropriate, for young agents to use fake names when “socializing”. In fact when I see young agent men on twitter ONLY talking to hot women…well…understandable, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth for some reason as a business referral.

    If you are going to use a fake name anywhere…then do not talk about real estate in that name ever.

    My $.02

    Of course I have multiple personalities all named ARDELL 🙂

  12. I have seen agents use fake names to badmouth fellow Realtors and pick on Alternative Business Models. Most State Licensing Laws require that agents identify themselves by their real names when talking in public about real estate. Hiding behind fake names to do things that are against the Code of Ethics or against the Law is a no-no, but I have seen it several times.

    I think it’s perfectly fine, and appropriate, for young agents to use fake names when “socializing”. In fact when I see young agent men on twitter ONLY talking to hot women…well…understandable, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth for some reason as a business referral.

    If you are going to use a fake name anywhere…then do not talk about real estate in that name ever.

    My $.02

    Of course I have multiple personalities all named ARDELL 🙂

  13. Great post and interview. I follow both Realtors and other professionals on social networks and I have to say yes, most are always on marketing mode.

    ARDELL DellaLoggia brings up an interesting point on the Code of Ethics and identifying yourself when Marketing. Everybody’s book is still being written. On Twitter, we’re supposed to be having conversations where Permission based marketing and conversational marketing intertwine with personalities. If we keep it to conversations with real people then Code of Ethics need not apply.

  14. Great post and interview. I follow both Realtors and other professionals on social networks and I have to say yes, most are always on marketing mode.

    ARDELL DellaLoggia brings up an interesting point on the Code of Ethics and identifying yourself when Marketing. Everybody’s book is still being written. On Twitter, we’re supposed to be having conversations where Permission based marketing and conversational marketing intertwine with personalities. If we keep it to conversations with real people then Code of Ethics need not apply.

  15. I think this is one of the hardest things to balance in our business.

    Like Derek said, Realtors are just “always on”. It’s a very unique job because every single adult you meet could be a customer (and those young adults will be some day soon 🙂 So, that fosters this always-seeking lifestyle for many agents. The more aggressive your nature, the more this comes through in social media and in person. I’m hyper-aggressive by nature, so I have to fight that back (how am I doing?). Others are often way too passive (never closing the deal) and they need to let their salesmanship show a bit more perhaps.

    All social never closes (atleast not at the rate that it could)

    All close never works either (because it pushes everyone away).

    I think people want to see a whole person (=integrity). One who can have fun and relate, but they also know how to get the deals done.

    I agree with Sarah that you can really only have one online persona. It has to be an individual balancing act that is gonna be a bit different for each personality.

  16. I think this is one of the hardest things to balance in our business.

    Like Derek said, Realtors are just “always on”. It’s a very unique job because every single adult you meet could be a customer (and those young adults will be some day soon 🙂 So, that fosters this always-seeking lifestyle for many agents. The more aggressive your nature, the more this comes through in social media and in person. I’m hyper-aggressive by nature, so I have to fight that back (how am I doing?). Others are often way too passive (never closing the deal) and they need to let their salesmanship show a bit more perhaps.

    All social never closes (atleast not at the rate that it could)

    All close never works either (because it pushes everyone away).

    I think people want to see a whole person (=integrity). One who can have fun and relate, but they also know how to get the deals done.

    I agree with Sarah that you can really only have one online persona. It has to be an individual balancing act that is gonna be a bit different for each personality.

  17. This is a great discussion! Rob, I think you pinpointed the problem to a tee: age and technology. I have been talking about this with fellow Gen Ys for months and none of us have an answer or know what to do, we are all puzzled as to how to handle this dilemma. The problem stems from the fact that many of us have been on Facebook and other networks since we were in our late teens and as Todd said, are plagued by pictures/comments up from this time. I believe we are the first generation that sort of grew up online. We are coming into our professional lives and the last thing we want to see pop up is a vintage Facebook album some dude posted featuring a 21 year old version of ourselves at a kegger.

    With Facebook, I think my stance on separate accounts would be different if I could control this. Since my late teens, I have learned that some things are better left private and offline and would prefer this recent discovery to have a different trail than one with any ties to my business world. That said, no, creating two separate Facebook accounts does not entirely reveal one’s social self. However, for some it seems there is no way to comfortably merge the two.

    That said, I intend to use a single personal/business account for all recent social networks. I think that having a disclaimer about an account being personal is a way to say I speak for me and me alone, not my employer.

  18. This is a great discussion! Rob, I think you pinpointed the problem to a tee: age and technology. I have been talking about this with fellow Gen Ys for months and none of us have an answer or know what to do, we are all puzzled as to how to handle this dilemma. The problem stems from the fact that many of us have been on Facebook and other networks since we were in our late teens and as Todd said, are plagued by pictures/comments up from this time. I believe we are the first generation that sort of grew up online. We are coming into our professional lives and the last thing we want to see pop up is a vintage Facebook album some dude posted featuring a 21 year old version of ourselves at a kegger.

    With Facebook, I think my stance on separate accounts would be different if I could control this. Since my late teens, I have learned that some things are better left private and offline and would prefer this recent discovery to have a different trail than one with any ties to my business world. That said, no, creating two separate Facebook accounts does not entirely reveal one’s social self. However, for some it seems there is no way to comfortably merge the two.

    That said, I intend to use a single personal/business account for all recent social networks. I think that having a disclaimer about an account being personal is a way to say I speak for me and me alone, not my employer.

  19. Real estate is a “people business”. There are a bazillion real estate agents out there and (for the most part) they can all do a CMA, market a home, and complete and negotiate contracts (granted, some do this better than others).

    How does a home buyer or seller select an agent out of the bazillion choices?

    They generally pick someone they “click” with. They connect on some personal level. What that personal level is varies wildly. Maybe it’s the way they look, act, talk. Maybe it’s something completely intangible.

    I don’t see how an agent can have split personalities — one “business” and one “personal”. We are what we are.

    Many people have told me things like, “You are exactly like what we expected” or “You’re just like you are on your blog”.

    Well I hope so.

    Right or wrong, good or bad, people form an impression of who I am based on my internet/social media presence. If I were to be a completely different person “In Real Life” than I am online it would just be weird. And extremely uncomfortable.

    I am certain that some people have read my blog, or seen my Tweets, or found a photo on Facebook/Flickr and said, “I would never use that guy as my agent.”

    Good. Better to find out in advance that we don’t “click” than to drive around in the 110 degree heat looking at homes and not working well together, only to part ways after wasting both my time and the clients time.

    No agent can be the be-all-to-end-all agent for everyone. People chose to work with me (or not) based on who I am. And what they see online is what they get in real life.

    It’s hard enough maintaining one personality, I can’t imagine having to maintain two.

  20. Real estate is a “people business”. There are a bazillion real estate agents out there and (for the most part) they can all do a CMA, market a home, and complete and negotiate contracts (granted, some do this better than others).

    How does a home buyer or seller select an agent out of the bazillion choices?

    They generally pick someone they “click” with. They connect on some personal level. What that personal level is varies wildly. Maybe it’s the way they look, act, talk. Maybe it’s something completely intangible.

    I don’t see how an agent can have split personalities — one “business” and one “personal”. We are what we are.

    Many people have told me things like, “You are exactly like what we expected” or “You’re just like you are on your blog”.

    Well I hope so.

    Right or wrong, good or bad, people form an impression of who I am based on my internet/social media presence. If I were to be a completely different person “In Real Life” than I am online it would just be weird. And extremely uncomfortable.

    I am certain that some people have read my blog, or seen my Tweets, or found a photo on Facebook/Flickr and said, “I would never use that guy as my agent.”

    Good. Better to find out in advance that we don’t “click” than to drive around in the 110 degree heat looking at homes and not working well together, only to part ways after wasting both my time and the clients time.

    No agent can be the be-all-to-end-all agent for everyone. People chose to work with me (or not) based on who I am. And what they see online is what they get in real life.

    It’s hard enough maintaining one personality, I can’t imagine having to maintain two.

  21. There is such a thing as being too personal, which can cost you business, but each must draw that line for themselves, online and offline. Case closed. (But if you feel the need to interact with your particular fetish group online, you might want to set up a separate account.)

    But I want to dispel the popular notion that social media is like a cocktail party. There are 2 big differences between offline and online interaction– amplitude and permanence. I shall pontificate, at your leave (huh?).

    At an IRL cocktail party, we cozy up to someone (or a small group) and start sharing. As we connect with THAT person or group, we open up more of ourselves. But there is not a microphone broadcasting our conversation to everyone else at the party, as well as those outside the party, thanks to Google. And even if there were eavesdroppers at the party, they are few– those eavesdropping on social media/Google number in the potential millions. That ability to amplify is one distinguishing feature of social media. That is unlike any cocktail party I’ve ever attended. (Although at the Crazy Country Club in Brooklyn, they used to have microphones in the bathrooms, but that’s another story.)

    Also, the IRL cocktail party is transitory, it ends, and conversations vanish, like words writ on water. There is no permanent cocktail party record– only a memory. And memories fade– most folks will forget you danced naked on the bar to Super Freak in a drunken haze. Social media, on the other butt cheek, makes permanent your conversations, etching them in Google’s cached memory. That twitpic of your booty on the bar will be there in Google perpetuity. Again, I don’t recall a cocktail party where pictures of your past indiscretions are kept on the wall.

      • Disagree. If the context (I wouldn’t call it a game) is different, the rules should be different. And what are rules? If they are what you can and cannot do, or should not do, there is a huge difference.

        For example, if I have a conversation with a close friend(s)at a cocktail party, we can exchange confidences and very personal information. You would not do this on social media, even with your close friend, because of amplitude and permanence. Social media is not an intimate medium and I think we can agree that what the rules permit in an intimate context are not the same on a public street corner. Different context, different rules.

      • Yes, of course, not all rules are laws– but if you are advising folks on social media best practices and overlook (or do not know) the “legal rules”, you make a critical mistake (IMO) that can cost that person, “speaking their own mind”, dearly. BUT….

        Nonetheless, your comment merely begs the question whether ALL the rules are the same for social media (online) as they are for cocktail party-like social interaction (offline). I pointed out that the legal rules are different (all laws are rules) and in the non-legal context, stand by my earlier comment:

        “For example, if I have a conversation with a close friend(s)at a cocktail party, we can exchange confidences and very personal information. You would not do this on social media, even with your close friend, because of amplitude and permanence. Social media is not an intimate medium and I think we can agree that what the rules permit in an intimate context are not the same on a public street corner. Different context, different rules.”

        BTW, my name is Joe, not Jeff.

  22. There is such a thing as being too personal, which can cost you business, but each must draw that line for themselves, online and offline. Case closed. (But if you feel the need to interact with your particular fetish group online, you might want to set up a separate account.)

    But I want to dispel the popular notion that social media is like a cocktail party. There are 2 big differences between offline and online interaction– amplitude and permanence. I shall pontificate, at your leave (huh?).

    At an IRL cocktail party, we cozy up to someone (or a small group) and start sharing. As we connect with THAT person or group, we open up more of ourselves. But there is not a microphone broadcasting our conversation to everyone else at the party, as well as those outside the party, thanks to Google. And even if there were eavesdroppers at the party, they are few– those eavesdropping on social media/Google number in the potential millions. That ability to amplify is one distinguishing feature of social media. That is unlike any cocktail party I’ve ever attended. (Although at the Crazy Country Club in Brooklyn, they used to have microphones in the bathrooms, but that’s another story.)

    Also, the IRL cocktail party is transitory, it ends, and conversations vanish, like words writ on water. There is no permanent cocktail party record– only a memory. And memories fade– most folks will forget you danced naked on the bar to Super Freak in a drunken haze. Social media, on the other butt cheek, makes permanent your conversations, etching them in Google’s cached memory. That twitpic of your booty on the bar will be there in Google perpetuity. Again, I don’t recall a cocktail party where pictures of your past indiscretions are kept on the wall.

      • Disagree. If the context (I wouldn’t call it a game) is different, the rules should be different. And what are rules? If they are what you can and cannot do, or should not do, there is a huge difference.

        For example, if I have a conversation with a close friend(s)at a cocktail party, we can exchange confidences and very personal information. You would not do this on social media, even with your close friend, because of amplitude and permanence. Social media is not an intimate medium and I think we can agree that what the rules permit in an intimate context are not the same on a public street corner. Different context, different rules.

      • Yes, of course, not all rules are laws– but if you are advising folks on social media best practices and overlook (or do not know) the “legal rules”, you make a critical mistake (IMO) that can cost that person, “speaking their own mind”, dearly. BUT….

        Nonetheless, your comment merely begs the question whether ALL the rules are the same for social media (online) as they are for cocktail party-like social interaction (offline). I pointed out that the legal rules are different (all laws are rules) and in the non-legal context, stand by my earlier comment:

        “For example, if I have a conversation with a close friend(s)at a cocktail party, we can exchange confidences and very personal information. You would not do this on social media, even with your close friend, because of amplitude and permanence. Social media is not an intimate medium and I think we can agree that what the rules permit in an intimate context are not the same on a public street corner. Different context, different rules.”

        BTW, my name is Joe, not Jeff.

  23. “Again, I don’t recall a cocktail party where pictures of your past indiscretions are kept on the wall.”

    I had this buddy that lived in a Frat house near the UT campus, last I heard they still have pictures on the wall…

    But that’s really neither here nor there. Joe makes some great points. I’ve often used the “cocktail party” analogy, and while there are some similarities, what Joe points out is REALLY important. And it’s something I’ll remember in both my talks on social media/networking and in how I go about it myself.

  24. “Again, I don’t recall a cocktail party where pictures of your past indiscretions are kept on the wall.”

    I had this buddy that lived in a Frat house near the UT campus, last I heard they still have pictures on the wall…

    But that’s really neither here nor there. Joe makes some great points. I’ve often used the “cocktail party” analogy, and while there are some similarities, what Joe points out is REALLY important. And it’s something I’ll remember in both my talks on social media/networking and in how I go about it myself.

  25. I love the point about social media not really being a “cocktail party”, but I still think Todd’s point is valid.

    The key thing may not even be the whole “amplitude & permanence” deal — as important as those are. The key thing, in my mind anyhow, is that social media is media. I disagreed with Ari Herzog on this point, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind.

    FaceBook is media just like the New York Times is. YouTube is media just like NBC or CNN. Twitter is media in much the same way that a Reuters feed of stock prices is media.

    So I see a lot of symbiosis between PR and social media, with each transforming the other. Best PR practices now are about authenticity, personality, and no-bullshit; and best social media practices are aware of the fact that what you are putting out to the Web is public relations or communications of sorts.

    It’s almost like asking yourself, “If I were on a reality TV show, how would I act? What is private, and what is not? What does the viewer not get to see, and what does she get to see?”

    It’s a tough question, and a tough line to draw.

    -rsh

  26. I love the point about social media not really being a “cocktail party”, but I still think Todd’s point is valid.

    The key thing may not even be the whole “amplitude & permanence” deal — as important as those are. The key thing, in my mind anyhow, is that social media is media. I disagreed with Ari Herzog on this point, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind.

    FaceBook is media just like the New York Times is. YouTube is media just like NBC or CNN. Twitter is media in much the same way that a Reuters feed of stock prices is media.

    So I see a lot of symbiosis between PR and social media, with each transforming the other. Best PR practices now are about authenticity, personality, and no-bullshit; and best social media practices are aware of the fact that what you are putting out to the Web is public relations or communications of sorts.

    It’s almost like asking yourself, “If I were on a reality TV show, how would I act? What is private, and what is not? What does the viewer not get to see, and what does she get to see?”

    It’s a tough question, and a tough line to draw.

    -rsh

  27. Tell a broker face to face at a cocktail party, he is a thief (when he is not) and that is not defamation— because it is within the rules. Do it on social media and you broke the rule — publication to third parties (amplitude)– see you in court. Sorry, dems the rules.

  28. Tell a broker face to face at a cocktail party, he is a thief (when he is not) and that is not defamation— because it is within the rules. Do it on social media and you broke the rule — publication to third parties (amplitude)– see you in court. Sorry, dems the rules.

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