Today, it happened again. I was yet again dishing out a cautionary note of guidance to a student in an email missive about the risk of not showing enough in terms of her personality online as she strives to establish “a more mature professional image.” I understand where she is coming from, though, and “mature” is also a relative term. For example, it is reasonable that she doesn’t want her middle school MySpace pictures prominently featured on first search engine results page.
Her approach, like for many other college students, is to separate their personal and professional sides into different sets of accounts or social networks. Specifically, on Twitter, she had one open account for professional appearance and a closed, personal one for interactions with friends. On Snapchat, she only had a personal presence with select and approved friends. On LinkedIn, she was present but considers it an extended resume and professional networking tool and “not for social use.”
Again, I understand what she means but my sense is that today’s college students have an overly dry interpretation of what “professional” interaction implies. In short, I believe most professionals like to have social and human relationships as they conduct business. Or, do you think that I overreact?