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Monster, the job search website has launched a Facebook app called BeKnown – the primary idea is to corral your friends and your co-workers into separate categories in Facebook. I am wondering about how this will work, and how LinkedIn fits into the whole picture. I need to explore it a bit to find my answers. But the fact that Monster has launched BeKnown is in itself proof of one of the issues many of us are contending with in social networking. Who is a friend? Who is an acquaintance? Who is a co-worker? Who is a potential client? And how do we balance all these audiences in one setting?

I think it is safe to say that once you start seeing 100 and 200 in people friends’ list, we have well and truly passed the bosom buddies stage. I have friends from grade school, whom I have not seen is several decades, and people whom I have met in the last six months all in the same space. While FB privacy setting does allow me to decide who gets to see what, I find that it is not always easy to execute privacy settings. Somebody actually wrote to ask me why they could not see my friends’ comments! So much for subtle filtering.

This leaves me struggling with the question of how to manage multiple interest groups. It takes some thought and effort to balance out my professional and personal network and I must admit that it leads to some self-censoring. While this is not all bad, I wonder whether this reduces the impact of my social networks. I remember a blog which was Freshly Pressed a little while ago recommending that we should just integrate all our social networks – bring together LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and all the works! That has not been an easy choice for me and today’s app news from Monster is confirmation that it is not a viable choice for many of us. I think some boundaries are still warranted, and until we figure out the networking niceties we will continue to explore firewalls.

How do you handle your social networks? Do they overlap or are they fully integrated? Do you worry about boring your family with work related links or do you fret about distant colleagues getting to know your family details? Do you find such privacy questions amusing? I am curious to know how others handle the tug-of-war between the public vs private….

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