Tales from the Net

a work in progress

Saturday, January 19, 2008

USA today on “when worlds collide”

Janet Kornblum’s Social, work lives collide on networking websites in USA Today has a bunch of great examples of the complexities caused when social networks intersect:

Just after her honeymoon last March, Wadooah Wali took the de rigueur next step these days: She changed her status on the networking websites Facebook and MySpace from “in a relationship” to “married” and posted pictures of her partner – another woman.

The well-wishes from friends and family poured in, stoking Wali’s happiness. Then came a note that jolted her, noticeable for what it didn’t say. No congratulations. Just: “Nice pictures.”

It was from a professional contact Wali hardly knew – someone to whom she never would have sent something as personal as a wedding announcement, let alone pictures. Wali likes to keep her personal life separate from her professional acquaintances, wary that some might react negatively to her sexual orientation. But suddenly her social circles had collided.

I had been talking about a very similar situation over dinner just a few weeks ago with a friend of mine: she had left her orientation intentionally ambiguous on Facebook, and when she got friend invites from her boss and the VP of her organization, she really had to think about it.

Other examples in the article include religion, political views, and partying together — and once again, these are all things that have come up on our lives. I remember once when Deborah had to tell somebody in law enforcement that it was a very bad idea to blog about his drug experiences at Burning Man; he hadn’t thought through where this story might go, and how fragile his pseudonymity was. Another time in a large meeting at Microsoft, somebody wanted to demonstrate a widget for MySpace profiles, and naturally asked me for mine; at the time I was leading the MySpace outreach of a political activism campaign, and if I hadn’t already been public about this at work, it would have been a difficult situation. And so on …

Good story!

posted by Jon at 4:58 pm  

1 Comment

  1. […] crashing online party is a great complement to last week’s when worlds collide, looking at the challenges when parents are on the same social neworking sites as their kids: […]

    Pingback by Tales from the Net » CNN on “Parents crashing online party” — January 27, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

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