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Business, Op-ed - Written by on Friday, July 24, 2009 17:49 - 3 Comments

Grey Flannel Suit vs. the Hawaiian Shirt

Mark Evans wrote an interesting blog post on Tuesday entitled Nine Things not to Do on Twitter which featured self-promotion, providing boring/inane personal details, and repeating tweets several times per day.

A lot of people run into these etiquette errors as they are getting used to a new social network. I have a presentation that I’ve delivered several times (often for fifty bucks and bus fare) where I describe LinkedIn as a Grey Flannel Suit and Facebook as a Hawaiian Shirt. It’s good to have both in your wardrobe, but if you show up at a board meeting in a Hawaiian Shirt you look like a goof and if you show up on a boathouse roof in a Grey Flannel Suit you look like an ass.

How one uses the status update is important here. Since LinkedIn should be your grey suit, unless for some reason you want a nutty online professional persona, it should only refer to a new accomplishment, position, or company or a request for work-related information or a decision. A lot of young people, consider status updates on Facebook to be lame, but those old people that showed up late on the scene to ruin it (like me and many of my friends) use it as an opportunity to be provocative or to try and show off their (Editor’s Note: should we qualify this?) sense of humour. The whole point of Twitter is frequent updates, but as Mark suggests, if you are reviewing your cat’s moods too often, most people will quickly vote with their feet (and unfollow button). Like most people, I ignore Plaxo’s plaintive and earnest pleas for an update. And Bebo? To paraphrase favorite philosophers, “what the fruck is Bebo.”

There are a lot of services that enable immediate updates across multiple platforms. I wouldn’t recommend any of them though since they can’t automatically determine whether a message is appropriate for a medium. In fact, it probably can’t even use contractions. What annoys you the most about status updates?



3 Comments

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Jeff DeChambeau
Jul 24, 2009 17:54

A lot of people seem to be using their facebook status updates to broadcast memos of soul-wrenching pain and (post-) teenage angst. Since that this is exactly the kind of thing I want to see when I log into facebook, I’ve taken to providing encourage feedback to them via the handy “Like” feature.

I’m not sure that my friends fully understand my appreciation of their recitation of Linkin Park lyrics (and one liners about how life is pain), but generally the practice has been well-received.

Web Media Daily – July 24, 2009
Jul 24, 2009 17:57

[...] Grey Flannel Suit vs. the Hawaiian Shirt… Â Wikinomics [...]

F.R. “Fritz” Nordengren » Blog Archive » Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Grey Flannel Suit vs. the Hawaiian Shirt
Jul 27, 2009 7:34

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