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“…Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it…”

David Quammen

Social networking is brilliant and has opened up a whole new way for people to communicate; but there are pitfalls.  The clue is in the words ‘social’ and ‘networking.’  Read this as open communication, really open, read by everyone.

So why is it that at least three people I am connected to within the last few weeks have first, said they hate their job (they are linked to other colleagues at their workplace), two, declared they had a hangover and had stayed off work, and three, had a ‘pop’ at their boss.

Self-awareness is a key skill in communication and the world of social networking seems to lull people into some serious lapses.  But the award for totally insensitive and idiotic posting has to go to a politician in my local town.

In the last couple of weeks, two St Helens councillors Mike Doyle and Ken Pinder died.  I have had the pleasure of dealing with both men and they were truly remarkable politicians and local communitarians of the best type.  Both men stood for Labour and at times like this you would imagine that all parties would come together and recognise their achievements at public servants.

Well a local Liberal Democrat, David Crowther thought differently and wrote this on his Facebook page: “It might be three before long – at least one other is rumoured to be seriously ill – great shame their (sic) not our target seats, but at least it will give us the chance to see how strong they are and it will seriously distract them for a few months.”

Clearly politics is a dirty game and although it fronts itself as anything but, the opinions slipped out here are often hidden away.  Social networking has no hiding place. 

In organisational communications the projection of identity is one of the three pillars of managing reputation.  Social networking projects an identity and it is crucial that we are all self-aware whatever our opinions and be aware how other people may view them.

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