While it claims its roots in dorm rooms, Facebook has become a diverse place, like it or not. With 150 million users, the social networking site claims those people 30 years old or older as its fastest-growing age demographic. More than half of Facebook's users now are outside college. With the diversifying user base comes more complex Friend lists -- a reality that presents opportunities and dangers as you blend your work and personal contacts in one place.
Many professionals may find themselves sharing intimate details of their lives with not only best friends but also work associates. Maybe you've got customers in your Facebook mix too, or even more dangerously, gabby family members who don't understand the merits behind the common term "too much information."
How you manage your Facebook profile, and what information you put into it to satisfy the desires and etiquette rules for all of these groups, while fulfilling your own wish to share, can be quite difficult.
CIO interviewed two experts who shared their insights on building a Facebook profile that keeps these issues in mind. Above all, most people need to look more closely at Facebook's under-utilized privacy settings, our experts urge. Here are five steps to improve your Facebook profile now, before you run into trouble.
Know Who You Want to Friend
Kirsten Dixson, a reputation management and online identity expert, says you should first carefully decide your criteria for adding Friends on Facebook. Friends, itself, is a pretty loaded word now. For most people, "contacts" is probably the more apt word.
If you're someone who strictly wants Facebook to be for only your close personal friends, while leaving a social network such as LinkedIn to connect with your professional contacts, then you need to be clear on that up front and hold to it. These are the people who will post something on your profile, or tag you in a picture.
"Your friends have such an impact on your Facebook profile," Dixson says. You need to ask, 'am I going to connect with social friends? Mix social and professional?' Will you friend anyone? There are no rights and wrongs. It's what's right for you."
If you are someone who wants to reserve Facebook for close friends, Dixson says, then you need to draft a cordial response to work people who try to friend you.
"Just be polite and say while you value your working relationship with them, you reserve Facebook for your personal life," she says.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.