By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A friend sent me this article from The Washington Post, which basically outlines how Facebook plans to overhaul its privacy settings.They want to make our information less private and more searchable by Google in order to compete with Twitter and other social networking tools.
Even though I was one of the earlier Facebook users, I’ve been slow to adopt new applications when they launch a new version of the social networking site.In the earliest iterations of Facebook back in 2004, there were no status updates, let alone pictures, or information about my interests and hobbies.
Back in the Mesozoic Age of Facebook history, it was simply a virtual address book. Over time it seemed the Web site wanted more information about me: my hometown, my occupation, who I’m dating, and so forth.I played along, and updated my information when it was only for my close friends. Then more people began to sign up and request my friendship (my parents and co-workers) and I began cautiously updating my page.
Now that my mother and my colleagues can see my status updates, I constantly struggle with the question: How much information is too much information? I know I’m wary of people who upload photos of their Friday night trysts, announce their breakups (or even divorces) through the site, and give updates about playing with their cat.
Social media experts such as NAR’s manager of social media Todd Carpenter advocate for keeping one Facebook page and to create transparency and authenticity about yourself.This means that real estate practitioners shouldn’t keep separate profiles for business and personal reasons, but rather combine those interests into one page.I imagine most real estate professionals are tackling the same question that I am: How much information about your life do you want other people to see?
I asked Tara Hunt, social media specialist, author of the newly released The Whuffie Factor(Crown Business, 2009), and featured speaker at the 2009 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, about this. She explained you should share as much as you would with someone standing in line at the grocery store.She further said that you should share information that could connect and make you relateable to clients: You had bad day, you’re taking a vacation, you closed a big deal, etc.
The Whuffie Factor, by Tara Hunt (Crown Business, 2009)
But that’s where it should stop.Note that she didn’t say to discuss why you’re having a bad day or that you had one too many margaritas on vacation.The information that you make available through Facebook should make you human but at the same time be appropriate for anyone to see (including your mother, my mother, and our co-workers).
How much information do you share on Facebook? How much do you think is too much?