Stuffy suit, outspoken opinion leader, tedious try-hard... the way you interact with technology may be telling your colleagues more than you realise about the sort of person you are.
A couple of years ago the demarcation was clear: Facebook was for the young; LinkedIn for the not-so-young - professional boomers, upwardly mobile Gen Xs and other serious minded folk who wanted to talk turkey, not look at the ski photos of one of their 570 'friends'.
But James Griffin, a partner at social media consultancy SR7, said the lines had become increasingly blurred.
"In the past eighteen months there's been a real acceptance of LinkedIn for all types of people, from graduates scouting for jobs up to Board members.
"On the other hand, pressure is coming for older people to use Facebook . . . more organisations are using Facebook for commercial purposes, so it makes sense that they understand it."
Technology trends blogger Richard MacManus of Readwriteweb.com said having a social media presence told your colleagues you had an open mind and were willing to engage with others about various topics.
This is more important in some jobs than others - think sales, marketing and anything that traditionally relied on the pressing of flesh.
But there is a time and a place, MacManus said. "If your job isn't enhanced by social networking then it probably doesn't do much for your career."
"Senior executives sitting on Facebook all day is not a good look," said Griffin.
And while Facebook often cops criticism for its role as a platform for narcissists, the business-focused LinkedIn is not immune to posturing of a different sort.
While you may know the guy in the next cubicle as an out-the-door-at-five-er who never washes the coffee cups, in the parallel universe of social media he could be a mover and shaker at the top of his game.
"Anecdotally, the value of companies would triple if they had as many senior execs as there are listed on LinkedIn, in current and past jobs," Griffin said.
Then there's Twitter. Although infamous over-sharers like Shane Warne may hog the tweeting limelight, Griffin said the medium had a surprisingly professional, upwardly mobile user base.
For more confident types, it provides an opportunity to develop a good corporate image. For those who do it wrong, or too often, there's an equally big chance to lose friends and irritate people.
"It's a great tool in the business community - it can show you are a thought leader and on top of your industry by commenting on day to day issues," Griffin said.
"You need to look at the content and balance of what you're tweeting. Is it helpful to people and does it portray you in a positive light?"
On the blower:
Back in the dark ages, aka the early nineties, just owning a mobile phone marked you out as a corporate hotshot. Fast forward twenty years and it's a given that everyone over the age of eight has one. With a growing number of people bringing their own handsets to work, the phone has become an important component of corporate self image.
According to Foad Fadaghi, research director at telecommunications consultancy Telsyte, iPhones have driven this trend.
"Before they came along, a lot of people started wanting to use Blackberries but this drove companies to buy them for their staff, rather than people getting their own."
The Blackberry remains the preferred choice of many hardcore suits and corporate warriors.
"Kiss the guy with the iPhone, marry the guy with the Blackberry," Griffin advised.
While newer devices may have more applications, a lot of "banking, business and insurance types" prefer to stick with a familiar workhorse, Fadaghi said.
Then there's Android; a choice which tells your colleagues you're tech savvy and looking for something to customise, outside the iTunes compound.
At the other end of the spectrum sits a group known as the tech rejecters. Most offices have a few. They've been using the same low end Nokia since 2006 and don't plan on upgrading any time soon. "Text and calls - that's all I need it for" is their mantra.
Rejecters stand out; especially in technology driven organisations where everyone else gets a new handset every two years.
"They may be perceived as a person who is not willing to upgrade -an extension of the hoarder type personality," Fadaghi said.
On your desk:
Once upon a time, anyone wearing a brown jacket or tie was branded a 'PC', while those with a laid back sense of style were 'Macs'. At least that was according to a series of ads that attempted to portray the PC brigade as the back-office boffins, while Mac users were cool kids doing all the funky, creative stuff.
But according to Fadaghi, with most of our business now conducted on the internet, it no longer matters so much which platform you choose.
"No particular device or computer has the stigma that it once might have," he said.
"Stereotypes used to exist because a lot of creative software was only available for the Mac."
Gartner Group research director Nick Ingelbrecht said while both platform did exist happily for a while, he observed that the old Mac versus PC debate reared its head once again when the iPhone and iPad hit the market, bringing a new Mac generation of zealots with it.
"This issue of Mac versus PC has taken on a whole new life again with the advent of the iPhone and the iPad. There's almost a religious attitude to being in either camp," he said.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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