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The Theory of New-Age Founders— ‘Friend’ them Before You Work With Them

This is a new strategy we are seeing in this age — and I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it is at least trying to put relationships above business…

So I’ve been chatting with a few founders in their 20s, all eager to take their ventures forward. We often discuss ways to collaborate too…

There’s one observation I’ve made after I finish speaking to them on the phone — they will first add you to their Whatsapp list, and tell you to reach out to them for anything (great strategy), and second, they will friend you on Facebook.

Now, I have no issues on either ground… I believe both are modes of communication and expression, and as long as you stick to business, it’s fine. But my only worry is, are we losing the boundaries between personal and professional? Did they even exist to begin with?

In earlier times — before the advent of social media — all we probably did was take our work home, but today work and home are all coming together on Whatsapp and Facebook.

A philosophical approach would say — we are one identity, so there should be no duality anyway…

But what about the balance, the space to yourself, the need for privacy…and most importantly the need to not play this social role constantly?

There are times when you may simply feel asocial and not wish to connect with anyone… Of course you can choose not to respond at an inconvenient time, but that message stays on your mind, and you know you have to get back to it at some point.

Moreover, social media is largely a vanity exercise with people projecting just the good about them… They write lines and post pictures or videos for likes and to gain more popularity…

Is this not taking us away from who we are professionally…even making us seem frivolous at times?

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media platforms and I am all for communication and interaction… But do I want everyone I work with to enter my personal spaces? I’m not sure at all.

Because at the end of the day, the people you work with are called ‘acquaintances’ and not ‘friends’. So what use is it to ‘friend’ them on Facebook?

Finally, some advice to new-age founders, ‘friend’ only those who you’ve already built a rapport with… If you want to follow them professionally, use professional platforms like LinkedIn…

Facebook and Whatsapp may make people more accessible, but they are also more intrusive and personal platforms, so communicate with caution and only when necessary.

And, of course, always put relationships above business, because your ventures may fail, but life will go on, and you don’t know who will bail you out when…

One small rider: Remember all relationships, personal or professional, grow gradually, and come with a lot of responsibility, sensitivity, and reciprocity… So please don’t expect or assume familiarity from day one!

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