Originally I was going to use Facebook solely to communicate with my friends and family. Then contacts from my Autodesk blogging started to surface. So my Facebook use became a mix of business and pleasure. I was unsure of where the lines were: Personal Life and Professional Life: Never the Twain Shall Meet?. Ben Cochran had a similar thought when he was guest blogging for me during my sabbatical: Facebook at Work?.
Last week I attended a meeting with Peter Yewell who is a Director for National Accounts at Facebook. Peter covered the new security and privacy features of Facebook. He was keen to note that the Facebook site is not what Facebook considers their product. Instead it's an environment where people feel comfortable sharing information and building a network of relationships. My meeting with Peter got me to look at my Facebook usage more closely. I discovered that I can use the long-standing Facebook Lists feature to segment my social network into Personal and Professional contacts. This way my relatives like my brother Warren in New Orleans don't have to hear about an update to the Inventor Publisher Technology Preview, and journalists like Roopinder Tara don't have to hear about our daughter Stephanie in Chicago learning to scrape ice off of her windshield.
Maybe I am late to the party since lists have been around a while, but I see using Facebook lists is a WIN-WIN. The gist of Peter's talk is that Facebook users can select with whom they want to share information on a piece by piece basis.
Aligning information sharing based on personal and professional bases is alive in the lab.