Senior Executives Social MediaSenior executives and their professional contacts have structured boundaries that are relied upon to separate their professional and personal territories. The professional arena frequently consists of strong and clear behavioural expectations of what represents professional conduct.

With the ongoing drive towards social media adoption in business, the line between professional and personal information has become obscured because online services such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram present new access points into our daily lives.

Many Executives express resistance to social networking because they lack the understanding of how to preserve their personal privacy while guarding their corporate identity.

The most common scenario concerning adoption relates to the conflict between a Senior Executive's personal views and professional identity. Executives have built a certain image amongst their colleagues that may not accurately reflect their personal interests.

For example, colleagues and staff may feel uncomfortable or confused if they find an executives extra mural activities or political opinions conflict with their perception of their leader. Corporations equate professionalism with stability and require a sense that their leaders disposition can be relied upon.

Senior Executives, business leaders and ambitious employees should therefore consider separating their personal and professional online identities. The long term privacy implications and detrimental career impacts of social media are yet to be determined hence the risks of associating ones professional identity to personal social networking far outweigh any perceived benefits.

Those executives interested in connecting on public social media such as Facebook or Instagram should employ nicknames or aliases with non business email addresses. Linkedin is a business social networking site and therefore warrants ones real professional identity. Twitter attracts a mixture of personal and business usage however separate accounts should be considered if personal usage outweighs more than 20% of business usage.

Using a nickname or alias on personal social networks may at first seem clandestine however personal contacts rarely need a real name to locate their friends and are understanding of one's desire to protect their professional identity.

Regardless of the debate surrounding the use of nicknames, the employment of anonymity remains the foremost proposition permitting executives to utilize all types of social media.

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