From Bob Schukai, Global Head of Mobile Technology Thomson Reuters
Speaker at the BCC Evening Business Forum – Leading the way in Social and Mobile Networking, April 2012
On Social Media Presence Management
There are literally so many ways we can take part in social media: on a personal level with Facebook and Twitter, a professional level with LinkedIn, or a specialty interest area such as Pinterest or Soundtracking. Inevitably, there is a question of “who are you” and “how does one present” across these various streams. For me, the simplest thing to remember is this. No matter what I post, once it is out there for the world to see regardless of platform, there is no way to “take it back.” I’m often stunned at what people are personally willing to write and share across social media sites. And of course, I have my concerns over how my data and privacy will be protected. It’s the biggest reason today that I’m not on Facebook. I had a profile but took it down a number of years ago, when I discovered that something I thought I had posted privately was of course, rendered public by a change in privacy settings. I no longer want to deal with that. I’d also say that while I may be in the minority, I just haven’t really had a need to spend my life updating my status!
LinkedIn is clearly the place for the business world. I think it is an incredible tool, and it has helped me immensely in my role. I don’t post things very often there, but when I do, it is clearly all business. The connections that LinkedIn makes, plus its ability to identify second and third level connections is invaluable.
I started using Twitter (@iammobilebob) primarily as a business tool around two years ago. I write an internal blog on mobile technology for Thomson Reuters, but with so much change going on nearly daily in mobile, Twitter gave me an easier avenue to share stories on the space that I found interesting and relevant to our business. On Twitter, I’m more relaxed though about my persona. People can obviously see that there is a human being behind my tweets, as although 90+% of what I post is somehow related to technology, mobile, startups, etc., I also post some things that are a bit more personal. You’ll find from time to time tweets on running or on something related to music and bands that I like. That said, I still treat Twitter largely as an extension of my Thomson Reuters social presence, and so you won’t see me putting things up that one would find objectionable in language, tone, or topic. Twitter has also been incredibly invaluable for making business connections. I even find sometimes that some of those connections will respond faster to a DM (direct message) than they would an email.
I’ve dipped in and out of other social media areas simply to get a sense of what they were like and how they worked. For a time, I thought Pinterest was quite fun. I have a rather large collection of mobile phones I’ve used over the years, and I thought it would be fun to share the museum with the world. Soundtracking was also a fun app I used for a bit; it lets you share music that you’re listening to and post a picture along with the track – it can be an album cover, a picture of the band, or whatever you like. I also used Foursquare for a couple of years; it was fun to become the “mayor” of a location, score a lot of points, and see where people I knew were traveling in the world. I generally though never shared my Foursquare location publicly on Twitter or anywhere else; I think that divulging location is a pretty personal thing, and really, it was only a very small set of people that were in my circle. It did come in handy though a couple times when I was able to catch up with someone I wanted to see who happened to be in the same place as I was. I consider all three of these services to be “personal,” but in general, I treat all social media with the same rule regardless of whether it is personal, business, or a mix: post only the things that you would not have a problem discussing with your boss, your partner/spouse/significant other, or your parents. Perhaps I am more cautious because of the role I have in my company, but I also think it sets a good example for others. I generally think a lot of people tend to overshare things that in retrospect, they would love to take back if they could. And that’s the problem. Once you send it into the ether, it stays there forever.