Thursday, 29 January 2009

The personal touch adds value to online networking?

I've been reflecting over the past few weeks about how different online networking and contact feel from similar face to face connections.

I started my professional networking on Facebook but my Facebook history and profile had previously been used for purely social purposes. That meant that anyone could see photos of my family, what music I like etc etc. Far more information than I would normally be sharing during a chat over coffee at a conference.

Maybe its the fact that I work in, and blog/network about healthcare which might seem a little more friendly and less cutthroat than say share trading?

There are lots of comments and opinions out there about the blurring of professional and personal lives through social networking but I began to wonder about how this might affect the quality of those interactions?

I have observed that my contact with people I have "met" through web 2.0 is more relaxed and I feel more able to ask questions about others person and work lives. All this makes me hypothesize that online contacts seem to be richer and more productive as a result of the interweaving between personal and professional parts of my life.

So if this eroding the personal/professional boundries and I'm doing work related tasks while checking my personal contacts on facebook does this mean I'm working more? Maybe but as it feels more like an extension of my normal social interaction it doesnt seem to matter. So maybe this helps my worklife balance too - I can be more productive as I interweave my personal and professional. Others would disagree!

So I'm asking the questions:

Do you feel that your online contacts are more productive that face to face and do you think that the personal knowledge you have shared with those people is a factor?

Do you think online contacts enhance or detract from your worklife balance

1 comment:

  1. A little off topic (i do that), but i know the online dating scene moves rather quickly & i've read it's related to the lack of non-verbal feedback. There isn't body language showing 'that's too much too fast.'

    Relating this back to your question...on the professional level, new ideas may be discussed with more openness online. People can get to a point faster. I suspect it's also related to the type of people who are interested in OT/Web 2.0. If they're blogging, chatting, posting & commenting then they're more likely to be seeking new information from a variety of sources. Those are fun people to have in a network, you never know what those creative ideas will lead to next!