With the introduction of Microsoft’s Social Connector for Outlook, it becomes even more imperative to separate your personal identity from your business identity. In a nutshell, every working professional should have at least two email addresses – one used for work purposes and one for personal use. Never, I repeat, never let the two intertwine.
Recently, I sent an email to a manager at a spa dealership to inquire about the status of an order. It was quite a shock to see a picture of the him giving me the middle finger in my email window! This picture happened to be his Facebook profile picture. I can tell you it left a less than favorable impression on me and made me much less inclined to do business there again.
The Outlook Social Connector will go to Facebook and download your profile picture and display it right in the email window if it can link up the email address being used. Also, if there are any wall postings that are public, they will appear there, too. If you have this plug-in installed, you do not need to visit facebook.com to get information related to an email address, it will appear in your message window as soon as you type in an email address in your To or CC/Bcc field.
Currently, there are not many social connector providers, but with the API for the Social Connector published, I predict most, if not all, major social networking sites having a connector. Current providers are Facebook, LinkedIn, Windows Live Messenger, and MySpace.
What this means is that if you have created an account at one of these sites using a work-related email address, change it immediately! If you don’t have another email address, go to https://mail.google.com and create an account, now and then change your email address on the social networking site, removing your work email address.
Beware that if someone possesses both your personal and professional email addresses and has them attached to an Outlook contact, the Outlook Social Connector can triangulate between the addresses and still display your personal information even when using the business address. Make certain that only the people you want to see your personal information have your personal email address.