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Nothing Personal, I'm Still Me and We're Still Good?!

By Timmy Lanier
I have received a lot of grief from some of my old friends from yesteryears over my deletion of friend requests or denial to connect via social media.  In these times, social media is a very powerful tool for connecting, networking, advertising, and promoting not just locally, but globally. The people that understand how to use social media platforms to their advantage often find that a strong social media presence can make for a huge success story.
Conversely, a strong social media presence can also be used against any entity that seeks to elevate their name and their brand.  As stated before, social media is a huge network of links to people, some of whom you know but most of whom you don’t know.   Social media allows complete strangers to connect and learn about one another until they are no longer strangers in many cases.  That being said, when complete strangers set out to learn about one another, they no longer have to guess or wonder who a person is.  They can simply go to their social media and investigate. 
You can learn a lot about people based on their social media profiles, contacts, affiliations, and posts.  Though mostly generalizations, you can almost know the mind and character of a person just from studying their social media activity, at least that’s what most people do and how they find out about a person.  It is for this very reason that I often delete certain requests to connect over social media.  Not for my thinking because I’m cool with just about every personality front and I am able to adapt to whatever “crowd” I am interacting with.  My problem is that, in my profession,  I’m constantly watched and we (my colleagues) are heavily scrutinized.  We have a laundry list of expectations on how we should conduct ourselves, talk, and yes…who we should associate with.  Our social media accounts are combed through during any hiring process, promotion opportunity, education furtherance, and in judgements of character credibility.  Employers, hospitals, licensing boards, service groups, and  new comrades all use social media as a way to investigate a person or thoroughly vet a potential new addition to the fold.
So friends, stop saying that I’ve changed- a piece of paper that describes my education does not make me who I am; only tells me what I can legally do.  I’m still “me.” But also understand that posts that you create can determine how high and far I can go. Unfortunately corporate America has a certain persona
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that they are just terrified of and so before they decide to tolerate me (and others), they will do their due diligence to make sure that they know everything about me- my family dynamics, my own personal interests, the type of music that I listen to, the type of friends that I keep, the narratives and ideas that I'm promoting or refusing, the places you go, and so on.  They use this information to determine if you are a ‘good fit’ or a risk too risky to take.  This could mean the difference between fame and 
fortune and a scripted denial in the form of an apology meant to send you on your way with no strings attached.  Its unfortunate that we all are being watched by someone, but in my profession, the surveillance is on a different level and because of the gravity of the consequences, I have to hit that reject button.  It’s nothing personal.  I still have love for you; nothing’s changed within me, but I have to be careful with my associations on social media.  Its either that or miss out. 
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