Higher Education

Social Media Follow-up: Successful Facebooking as a Professional

Last week’s post on social media seemed to hit home with many.  Truth be told, my 16 year-old niece has more experience in social media than I could imagine.  I think she was recently rated as the top “tweeter” in the Lincoln, Nebraska area.  Last fall when I contemplated starting a blog  I also gave thought to what might be the best way to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other tools (I have a lot to learn!).  Although a bit dated, I found a great read in the book Inbound Marketing written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  It provided some great insight on jumping into the social media world from a business perspective.  Another great resource is often our peers and colleagues.  For a Friday easy read I’d like to give a shout-out to respected colleague, W. Kent Barnds, VP for Enrollment, Communication and Planning at Augustana College.  His post, “Facebooking and being a professional in higher ed: does it mix?” provides some great guidance for those looking at how to approach Facebook as a professional.

Here are a few quick snippets from his blog post:

W. Kent Barnds, March 6, 2012

I know many, many people have addressed this topic and I am not sure I am any better equipped to do so than those who already done so. However, last week I was asked by someone, who I group into the categories of friend, Facebook friend and professional colleague, about my approach to using Facebook. 

This friend and professional colleague asked how I prevent or avoid getting engaged in an Augustana College debate/discussion on Facebook?

My summary tips…

1. Don’t abandon Facebook, but figure out how to shape it. 

2. Don’t abandon your raunchy friends, but figure out a way to ensure they respect the microscope you are under as a professional.

3. Use Facebook to shape your raunchy and non-raunchy friends. How do you want them to perceive your professional life and what you are doing? I try to show the following things: I am professional. I am a thought-leader. I am excited about my role and my colleague. I am excited about the place I work. I am fun to be around and have opinions, but not opinions about anything directly related to college business.

4. Choose your method of communication for professional dialog and stick to it. Don’t go back and forth and don’t treat all Facebook friends equally. 

5. Don’t abandon Facebook. It has the very powerful potential to demonstrate attitude and personality. I think that’s important.


Interested in reading more?  Check out the full post.


2 thoughts on “Social Media Follow-up: Successful Facebooking as a Professional

  1. That’s very interesting, I always struggle to see Facebook as a professional tool. I actually don’t use as such- I use it only to keep in touch with friends. I’ve been thinking on having a Facebook Page for my blog (so people can follow me there instead of adding me as ‘friend’). I just need to put a bit more effort on it 🙂

    • Antonio, Thank you for the comment. I struggled to see FB as a professional tool as well. To that extent I actually have two FB pages; one is personal and the other is my professional page. All that said, there are times when I struggle with the purpose of one or the other. Kent’s point, in my opinion, is to find your comfort zone and then try to stick with some consistency. Thanks for reading.

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