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Rich Tatum, Leverages both Linkedin & Facebook and Tells you Why

Posted on November 4, 2007
Filed Under Facebook, LINKEDIN | Comments Off on Rich Tatum, Leverages both Linkedin & Facebook and Tells you Why

Rich Tatum is a freelance writer and former online media managing editor for Christianity Today International.

Along with his lovely bride he is currently father and “cat herder” to two off-the-wall children in a Chicago, IL, suburb. You can find him blogging at For more about his experience with LinkedIN, see his blog post, “Will Social Network for Food.”

I view FaceBook as a much more social and relational application than LinkedIN — though I find LinkedIN is a much more serious professional network. If I want my questions answered with real substance, I use the Answers forum on LinkedIN. Nothing beats it! But when I want to let my friends know what I’m up to unobtrusively, I use FaceBook.

I’m more willing to connect with strangers on LinkedIN than I am on FaceBook simply because professional networking there can be more loosely defined as shared vocational interests and intersections than what I consider the more “friendly” environment of FaceBook.

That said, having a FaceBook account has been an important factor in a few job interviews I’ve had over the last several months. When applying for a job where “social networking” and viral marketing have been important components, the hiring managers independently searched to see if I was on FaceBook. Two hiring managers friended me on FaceBook before ever meeting me. One hiring manager wrote that, “If someone says that they get the Web and what it’s about and yet their name doesn’t come up on Google, or any search engine, or FaceBook or any online community — then they’re probably not someone we need to be talking to.”

I think he’s right. In my line of work (information technology, media, and marketing), not being on FaceBook speaks volumes about my so-called credibility.

Now, there are features on FaceBook that wish LinkedIN had, and vice versa. But I recognize that a lot of the feature-sets are geared toward the kind of socializing done on each network. For example both FaceBook and LinkedIN have a sort of Q&A application/forum you can tap into. But the quality of answers on FaceBook are far inferior (in terms of content) than LinkedIN. Yet the entertainment value of the Q&A on FaceBook is at least as good if not more enjoyable than LinkedIN. I wish both had more RSS feeds.

In the end, depending on what kind of business you’re in, it makes sense to at least maintain a profile on FaceBook — especially if your line of work involves information technology or social capital in any way.


You may be wondering, “Okay, just who is the bloke behind this blog? And what’s with all the ‘rodent’ this and ‘rodent’ that?”

Good questions. I’m delighted you asked!

The Name
I’ll deal with the easy question first. My full name is Richard Alan Tatum. Look at the initials: RAT.

No, my parents didn’t have a cruel sense of humor. God does — my name is just a happy coincidence! (At least, according to dear Mom and Dad.) As to why the “Rodent?” When I was a teenager I wanted to be different (like all my friends) so I contrived a scribbled “logo” or a “tag” for my signature so that I would be set apart and instantly recognized — since I hadn’t found acclaim or distinction any other way. (That’s also why I taught myself how to juggle: to get noticed and impress the chicks. But that never worked, and that’s a whole different blog entry!)

Me.The Website
Anyhow, over the years, the scribble stuck. So, when it came time to set up a website I wanted a way to differentiate the names of stuff I worked on from all the rest of the cruft out there online. I first used my initials in things like the Word macro I created to display typeface samples. I called it “TypeRat,” and it still lives under that name. But when I went to create a website, it dawned on me that “rat” wasn’t very euphonious and carried negative connotations besides. So, I summarily decided on “rodent.”

After all, you can love an adorable furry little rodent, but nobody wants a rat for a friend.

After TypeRodent came ChurchRodent, my mini-glossary of church history (still one of the biggest traffic generators on this website). Then came WordRodent, a sometimes out-of-date word lookup tool hosted here. And the name really stuck at that point. (Or, rather, I was trapped.) When it was time to name my blog, I tried all kinds of really clever things — snarky names; names revealing my brilliant, scintillating, dizzying intellect; obscure names; biblical-sounding names; and plain ones. Alas, good names were as scarce as brains that night.

So, I went to my fall-back position and punted. Ergo: BlogRodent.

(One nice little benefit from this idiosyncrasy is exactly that: it’s unique. I’ve never run across anything else that routinely adds “rodent” as a suffix to create new terms. So, whenever I ego-surf Google or other search engines, looking for sites that link to me, I’m invariably rewarded with relevant search results, not endless page after page of other dudes sharing my birth name.)

The RodentSphere
I am regularly active in two or three email discussion groups: AOGDialog, Assembly-of-God, and Google me (on blogs, the Web, or in Usenet news) and you’ll find out even more about my views and positions.

The Reason
I finally started this blog because I realized I was writing volumes about what I believed and thought in these email fora, but I wasn’t capturing anything where it could help anybody long-term. Plus, I just wanted to be more intentional about my writing and sharpen my thinking some more. I hope this weblog is a good contribution and is helpful to you, because it already has been for me. I’m often wrong and I need the iron-sharpening that good dialog brings about — I hope those of you who comment take me to the woodshed now and then to set me straight.

Just be gentle, please.


Sunday, November 13, 2005
Romeoville, IL

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