Happy New Year! We hoped everyone enjoyed the holidays, and is feeling ready for 2009. Probably you've already made all your usual resolutions like diet and exercise. In today's column we made some suggestions for setting similar goals for your professional social networking life. Without further ado:
• Cut the fat. Do you have many ''friends'' on Facebook that are professional contacts? Are you using privacy settings to keep them from seeing your unprofessional social life adventures? Sort through your list of friends and make sure all your professional contacts are set on a limited profile. Develop the habit of using a limited profile when befriending new work associates.
• Get your profile in shape. Update and expand on your LinkedIn profile. You don't want a colleague or recruiter to see an out-of-date résumé. And while you're at it, bulk up your profile by adding some LinkedIn groups that match your professional interests. The more active you appear to be on a site, the more attractive you'll be in the professional world.
• Practice safe clicks. Don't click first and ask questions later. Phishing scams under the guise of fake links are on the rise in social networks, and there's no better way to annoy a colleague or business contact than to send a bogus link. These links direct people to a site that can steal your password, corrupt your account or spread malicious links to other connections on your network.
• Clear out profile clutter. Are you an application collector? Go through your pages and clear out applications you don't use or want visible.
• Join a new network. Explore new social networks. Twitter can be a great resource for professionals to expand connections. Whereas Facebook is more about making connections with people you know in the real world, Twitter is about connecting with strangers sharing your interests. It's a place to follow people in your industry and get questions answered.
And finally . . .
Our New Year's Online Resolution is to remember the Golden Rule: Don't be an application, invite or network pest. Recognize boundaries -- everyone might not feel the way you do about privacy and adding friends, especially when it comes to colleagues on social networks.
What are some of your resolutions for 2009?