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The Dos and Don'ts of Social Networking

We teach you the unspoken etiquette. Ignore our insider tips at your own peril.

  • Do set up privacy settings for your online profile, so the intimacies of your life—your battle with the bulge; an impending divorce—don't become public when people find you in a search. Facebook, for example, lets you decide who can see your info and photos. You can limit exposure to "friends" or even just a few people on your list.
  • Don't rush to friend your teen or college-age kids on these sites; wait to see if they reach out to you. There are some things you really don't want to know about your little angels. Plus, they probably like having their own parent-free space on the Web.
  • Do use LinkedIn and Facebook to stay in touch with former colleagues. These days (unfortunately) you never know when you'll need a reference for a new gig.
  • Don't post boring status updates on Facebook to comment about every single second of your day. If you must share, save those comments for Twitter (and please don't have your Twitter feed post to Facebook—even though you can). Trust us, your associates don't want a dull rundown of how you overslept this morning, are having tummy issues, and can't find that missing sock.
  • Do think twice before friending your employees on social sites. They don't want to offend you by saying no, but they also don't want you to see their wall posts outlining over-the-top (and super-sketchy) happy hour activities.
  • Don't "friend" strangers and spend hours inspecting or commenting on their profiles. Same goes for people you haven't seen in years. Social-networking sites are for staying in touch—not stalking.

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