Managing Social Media

One of my favorite 40-somethings told me yesterday that he had created a Facebook page for himself. Upon further questioning, I learned that the page actually had been created by the teenage summer intern working in his office. (Nonetheless, I gave the 40-something full credit for finding a low tech way of dealing with what for other Baby Boomers/Generation Xers can seem like an impossible barrier to entry to new technology.) When I asked why he decided to take the plunge, he told me that he felt he had to since the organization he led had an affinity group on Facebook and he, as CEO, needed to be there as well.

And then came the interesting part: he told me that he was going to keep it “strictly professional.”

“What happens when a high school or college buddy finds you on Facebook and wants to friend you?” I asked. “I’ll accept, of course, but they’ll have to `friend’ me in a `strictly professional’ way,” he responded. I was silent, but made a mental note to myself to check back in a few months to see if it actually worked the way he anticipated.

He then told me that the helpful teenage intern no longer had a Facebook page himself. When I asked why, I was told that the intern felt he had no choice when his mother “friended” him and the intern then realized that his mother would be able to see what he was up to with his other friends on Facebook.

Strangely, this gave me heart. Even Generation Y has a hard time managing the consequences of human action and connection with social media tools.

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