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As a social entrepreneur in the BeNeLux my focus lies on a holistic approach for helping companies mature their social media exploits, externally and/or internally. Rogier is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 42 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

You Do Not Have To Share Everything

05.28.2013
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One of the great fears of social is the idea that you have to share everything. Well, you don’t.

Also, people who do share everything are rare, and it might be a good idea for them to stop doing so.

Unable to Lie

In the movie “The Invention of Lying” Ricky Gervais’ character is a few minutes early to a date and Jennifer Garner’s character is triggered to say “Hi. You’re early. I was just masturbating”.

Well, that was a nice shocker and apparently she said it because she can’t lie. But, she was never asked what she was doing upstairs, she just volunteered this information for no reason. She chose to share it.

In my opinion this was as useless (and gratuitous) as the strip scene in Star Trek Into Darkness.

They did not have to share this with us, it did not add to the story. We would have enjoyed these movies just fine without it. Then again, it’s not worth writing numerous blogposts about the subject either.

For You Personally

The habit of sharing everything might be fun for some. And on the receiving end it might even be interesting to some. But it can be risky.

Your privacy is largely determined by how much you share on-line. And it’s not just embarrassing stuff you have to worry about.

Future employers can easily check you out on-line, and they do. And they do let what they find way into the decision to hire you or not.
And then there is real valuable information, like your credit card. Believe it or not, people actually post images of their new credit card on-line.

Anything you say can and will be used against you.

For Your Company

Reputation is a precious commodity. Whether it’s street cred for some kid, or the credibility of a bank, in some cases the loss of reputation can have unimaginable consequences.

A company needs to protect it’s reputation with vigour. Deciding what to share and what not can be crucial and sometimes the line is blurry at best.

When in doubt, do not share.

A basic rule is that any information you share must serve a need. It must benefit a customer or a partner, help them solve a problem. A band aid for a pain.

This does not mean you have to share all the knowledge your company has.

It does mean that you can truly help people, and that you can control the conversation about your company.

Yes, by actively participating on social you decide what people read, what the conversation is about.
If you are absent, people will discus your brand anyway, but on their terms, not yours.

Inside Your Company

The need for silos within a company may always exist. And that’s OK. There are always certain aspects, like personnel or legal information, that can’t be shared with all employees.
This is not a problem, because most of that information is not critical knowledge for the day to day work routine.

What you do need to share is exactly that knowledge that is needed, or can be needed, by employees (and managers) to progress their daily work.

The fact that person A knows some process very well can be very useful to person B, who might be just before or just after this link. Having access to the information about every link in the chain can help an employee change something within their link in order to improve the workflow of an employee in the next link.

If these two employees never talk, or never share information they’ll never know. It’ll be up to a manager who sees both links to come up with these solutions.
You’d need one heck of a talented and multitasking manager to see and know everything down all links and then improve on them.

It is much easier, and probably more effective, if employees can do this themselves.

Having policies in place to guide employees on the correct behaviour is a best practice.

Not Everything

So, no, you do not share everything, you really don’t have to.
Whether it’s personal, or corporate a lot comes down to common sense.

If you wouldn’t share it with somebody in person, or shout it out loud on a birthday or mention it in a meeting.., you probably don’t want to share it on-line.

Take 10 seconds and think before you hit the send button.

I shared over 1600 photos on Flickr. All personal. And I regret none of them.

Republished with permission

Published at DZone with permission of Rogier Noort, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)