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The crossover between personal and business use of social media, by Tammara J. Erickson

on 02/28/2012

Here are some really interesting thoughts about how we use social media in business and in our private life. It is an extract of the Harvard Business Review and it is written by Tammara J. Erickson, who was named one of the top 50 global business thinkers for 2011!

She underlined the fact that when we use Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and most other personal social software applications, we share these experiences:

  • We’re usually invited to participate by people we know and trust.
  • There are specific things we want to do with the other people involved, such as share photos, stay up-to-date on a club’s activities, or develop a personal reputation.
  • We get something back from participation: advice, practical information we need, a network to tap when times are rough, or the emotional pleasure of seeing others photos or hearing their news.
  • We have control over who sees our information.
  • The applications are intuitive — there’s no training required.
  • The applications are well-tuned to support the specific tasks we want to perform and their features are regularly rated and refined.

In contrast, the social software used in many organizations today has a distinctly different cultural context and level of performance:

  • Often we’re instructed to use it by someone in authority, rather than invited by friends.
  • Little of what we actually get paid to do (or believe we get paid to do) requires information or input from the vast majority of other people on the network.
  • Participation feels like dropping pearls into a black hole — there’s often no sense of getting something in return for sharing an idea or suggestion.
  • We have no control over who sees our information and little idea what “they” are doing with it.
  • The site is unattractive and requires a manual to get started.
  • The software is generic and requires a work-around to do the specific things we would really like to do.

Here is the crossover between personal and business in social media, both of them have the same characteristics:

  1. Strategy — a clear, specific purpose,
  2. Technology — designed around user behavior,
  3. Organization — supported by new structures and practices as necessary, and
  4. Personal Engagement — catalyzed individual discretionary effort.

In my point of view, when we are using social media in our private life, we should consider us as a brand. We are already doing that, by showing the best profile of ourselves, so we should also do the same in for all our profile.

If you are intersted by the article, you can find it on the following website:


Elizabeth K. Stanton


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