Within Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, your email address book, and your cellphone’s contacts, you probably already have a diverse group of people. There’s Aunt Jenna listed right next to Jim, that one guy who’s your friend’s friend’s friend in your universal address book. Plenty of your family members, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances are mixed into the mess of your entire social network.
You wouldn’t treat your family members the same way you would treat your acquaintances in person, so why would you treat them the same way online? When it comes to the workplace, it can be especially useful to keep all of your professional contacts separate from other contacts.
Having a colleague added on your Linkedin is not the same as having them on your friends list on Facebook. Linkedin is considered to be a platform for professional contacts, whereas personal Facebook accounts tend to be more relaxed and informal. For that reason, adding a colleague on Facebook shows that you probably have more of a chummy relationship rather than a solely professional one.
Adding a colleague on particular social networking platforms might not be ideal if your relationship is more professional than it is personal.
Even if you do decide to synchronize your contacts between the different websites and address books, adding a colleague on particular social networking platforms might not be ideal if your relationship is more professional than it is personal. At the same time, even though networks like these are different in purpose, there might be a pressure to add your other coworkers on other social network sites if you already have them on another. Consolidating all of your workmate contacts can be very helpful in this case, and removes those awkward boundaries of whether to add or not to add someone from work.
Research from Microsoft about the workplace use of social networks mentions that “tensions also appear as a result of crossing boundaries within the personal sphere, and within the work sphere.” It is a double-edged sword to have your coworkers on multiple platforms, because it creates confusion and tension between ways of communicating. As soon as you know it, your colleague from another department will have known that you changed your relationship status – all because you thought it was fair to add them to your personal Facebook since you worked together anyways. Mixing work and your online personal life can cause complication.
Grouping work-related contacts can be useful when it comes to organization.
Organizing your coworkers’ contacts into one place helps with productivity and connection, since it would be easy to reach out to them and easy to have consistent, useful dialogue. Similarly, it is also a great way to stay connected and strengthen ties. Joining your work contacts together makes the relationship more distinct, since it creates a defined space for colleagues; the professional relationship would feel more natural instead of forced. There would also be fewer distractions since the network only consists of your coworkers, and pushes for more of a focus on the people you work with.
Unifying your professional social network can also improve office communication.
Instead of having to switch between talking to someone over text, over IM, or over email, a space where conversation and dialogue is in a separate space helps with team communication. Having a consistent platform to talk to your coworkers can remove confusion between ways of speaking to each other and can strengthen dialogue instead.
Having all of your work contacts in one places removes the awkward blurred lines of work and online personal life. Not only that, but organizing your colleagues’ contacts increases communication and productivity. In general, it establishes a much more healthier professional environment. You can easily organize your professional contacts by using a singular platform to talk to them through.