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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

My Problem with Social Media

social media

Social media buzz is all around. If you haven’t read about social media recently it means you pretty much haven’t read anything. To some point I tried to avoid the subject – it’s been beaten to death already. Actually when I touched the subject it was rather skeptical approach to social media in project management.

Yes, I use a number of social media applications. Actually more than I thought since the list is extensive. Blogging platforms, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Picasa and recently Google Buzz to name only the most significant ones.

Now, I could easily group them into two groups. Blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn would go into professional-related group while Facebook, Picasa and Buzz to private-related group. Why line of demarcation goes like that? Because of people I’m connected with in each of applications.

Professional World

I don’t blog about my tortoise or my coin collection or movies I’ve seen recently. Software Project Management which you read at the moment is about, well, software project management. Not about tortoises or movies. I guess no one comes here to read what I think about District 9 or what kind of lettuce Pepe likes most. I keep the blog professional the same as I keep blog-related tools like Twitter.

When we are at Twitter – do you, dear reader, care what have I eaten for breakfast? I didn’t think so. And you know what? I don’t care what you have eaten for breakfast either. If you keep writing about this shit all over again on your Twitter I’m going to unfollow you very soon. I keep the tool professional and the same I expect from my network. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say people shouldn’t twit how many beers they had yesterday or how much they’re enjoying their coffee or whatever. I just say they shouldn’t mix this with some software development related or project management related links. I’m there either to hear about beer or to find some worthy news. Never for both.

To give you an example I eager to read every post or twit posted by Scott Berkun but I don’t give a damn whether he enjoyed his dinner or not. And I’m glad Scott doesn’t share this stuff.

Private World

That’s where private-related social media apps kick in. Majority of people in my Facebook network are my friends. There are only a few people who I don’t know in person. So yeah, that’s the place to put tortoise picture as my avatar or mention a great steak I cooked recently since my friends aren’t much into all this project management crap.

The same is with Buzz where most people on my contact list are my friends. The same is with Picasa where I share only private photos. Oh, some of them make their way into the blog so if you think pictures here are crappy now you know who should be blamed.

Looks like it is all set up and working. Where’s the problem then?

My Problem with Social Media

I know only a few of my friends who live in both of these worlds – those of them who work in the same industry. The rest comes to hear either about software project management or about my private life. If they find too much of something else it tires them, which reminds me how I hate you twitting about your meals.

The problem is these networks interfere with each other. I already have some of my “professional” contacts in Facebook network and even more of them made it into my Buzz network. This is an issue since I’ll think twice whether I should share a link my friends would consider funny but might offend a couple of people from my professional network.

What I actually need are separate accounts: one for each of my worlds. The same as I have two email addresses one at the company I work for and another one to contact my friends. The problem is I’m not going to deal with the hassle of maintaining two accounts in each social media application. I’m not going to explain to you which account is right for us to connect either.

The other option is to draw clear line between both worlds and purge a few of my networks. And this is the one I incline towards at the moment.

Do you have similar problems with social media? How do you deal with them?

in: communication

8 comments… add one

  • Piotr Leszczyński February 22, 2010, 10:38 pm

    I do, but for now I’m trying to avoid Social Media. I have an account on LinkedIn (and another similar portal), but that’s all I think. I don’t have twitter, because I don’t like all this shit people keep throwing between information that I care. This problem also keeps me from blogging – I don’t want to handle 2 or 3 blog accounts, but there is not only professional stuff, that I would like to blog about, so for now I don’t blog at all. There are people, who say, that you should have only one blog, and categories or tags are for distinction between professional and non-professional posts, but I believe most people don’t use categories.
    So summing up – I see the problem, I have the problem, I don’t have any solution either. I just don’t like social media (except blogs).

  • Szymon Pobiega February 22, 2010, 11:05 pm

    I have similar experience but I don’t mind when people I work with want to ‘be in my network’ on Facebook or other non-pro social media site. I don’t care.

    For professional purposes I use linkedin, twitter and my google reader. I don’t read non-pro blogs using my reader account because I frequently ‘share’ posts I like and they appear automatically on my blog. I think that drawing a thick line between professional and professional media is crucial to maintain some order.

  • marax February 23, 2010, 1:32 am

    I’m trying to cope with social media crisis in my life now.
    Problem is information overload and my addiction to stay on the top of ererything by constantly checking my iPhone.

    Yes I use Twitter and Linkedin mainly for my professional. I discontinued using Facebook. Buzz I like and have many real friends there but they are not going to use it so neither do I.

    The real big problem is that all social media still produce very heavy stream of information that one can feel overwhelmed and one is constantly distracted from the things which matters more.
    I’m trying to simplify now. I realize that sm is often only about quantity or generating more visits of personal blogs to get more money. E.g. some PMs are tweeting about every new comment added to their blogpost. Solution is what Pawel suggests – remove any one who does not produce a value and you yourself be the one worthy of following.

    The real friends are only a few the rest is only an acquaintance. So my private social media strategy is at least call regularly to real friend and talk to person if cannot meet him.

    Pavel

  • Pawel Brodzinski February 23, 2010, 1:42 am

    Piotr,

    You can handle a couple of blogs on a singe account although there will be still a couple of blogs. But there isn’t much hassle with running yet another blog. You spend most time writing and posting anyway. And I believe you would have much to say on both professional and private blog.

  • Pawel Brodzinski February 23, 2010, 1:47 am

    Szymon,

    People I work with and I know them in person generally fell into ‘friends’ category in my case too. On the other hand I have lots of contacts build over the blog or on different conferences and the only information I ever shared with them is professional-related.

    By the way: I have a problem with Google Reader which I haven’t mentioned here. I just can’t decide whether I should keep shared links professional (I have all types of blogs subscribed) since my followers at Reader vary. For the moment I just don’t share anything.

  • Pawel Brodzinski February 23, 2010, 1:55 am

    Pavel,

    There is a small naming issue here. In Slavic countries we use to have only handful of real friends and the whole rest we call acquaintances. In western world these definitions work a bit differently. People have a lot of friends and I used the word in western meaning.

    By the way for this few real friends I don’t need any social media. What I need (and do) is to meet them face to face. It can’t be exchanged with any social media application.

    Personally I would probably drop Twitter if I weren’t blogging. I still can’t say I like the tool but since my audience uses it so do I. I think you gave a definition of a social media tool to use: if people I want to stay in touch use it, so do I; if they don’t, neither do I.

    I try to work with a few separated networks so I have to cope with more tools than I would otherwise. That doesn’t make the thing any easier though.

  • Shea March 2, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Being in the recruiting business, I think I tend to play more in the Social Media sandbox than the average kid. I tried to have two separate facebook accounts. The idea of separating work and personal is a charming idea. But it is a lot of work to do so.

    Social Media to me is like playing cards while showing your opponent what you are holding. There isn’t too much hiding out there anymore. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being involved in Social Media, but take it from this recruiter….it has changed the way we find candidates.

  • Pawel Brodzinski March 2, 2010, 3:21 pm

    That’s interesting what you write. I’m pretty active when it comes to social media but got virtually no offers via this channel for a few years already.

    By the way: when I think about separate accounts it is not to hide something – it is to stream relevant content for each group. Either way that’s too much hassle for me and I definitely won’t do that.

    On a side note: I tried to make Google Buzz a stream for my friends. This accidentally ended up with disconnecting some of my professional contacts from Google Reader shared articles, which is a pity. I want to read shared Reader stuff from people who I don’t want to share my statuses with. Is this so hard to understand?

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