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Social Media and Georges Colliding Worlds

“It’s just common sense, anybody knows! You got to keep your worlds apart!”

-George Costanza

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPG3YMcSvzo

I used to have my “personal life” separate from my “work life”, and then social networking came along and threw a wrench into it.

Back in the day (2002), it was easy. I had a personal email account and a work email account. The two never crossed.  Now it’s not so easy. With Facebook, I am finding it more and more difficult to keep my personal life and work life separate.  Before my co-workers knew about Facebook, I could safely vent about work.  No one on my friends list knew my co-workers, and they were not on Facebook in the beginning. Then they discovered Facebook, and my two separate worlds started to collide. I got a friend request from one of my co-workers. Then another one, and another after that.  Eventually, my status updates could no longer include work, and I also had to filter out anything concerning my future employment options.  Okay, not a big problem, and when I left the company to start my own, these co-workers left my work life and joined my personal life.

End of problem right? Not at all.

Over the last year, I have had clients who have wished to become friends on Facebook. And I hope they are not offended, but I haven’t friended them, and don’t plan to.

I am very firm on keeping my Facebook page about my close friends and family.  I have a business page for my business friends, and I encourage others to have a fan/business page too for these reasons:
1. It is more professional
2. It keeps your private life private
3. It better ensures the privacy of your friends
4. Facebook has rules about using personal pages for business

I have been asked to be Facebook friends with clients, who are people I do consider to be casual friends with, but I won’t do it on Facebook.  There are several reasons for this:
1. It protects my family and their personal lives
2. It allows me to have a “safe” place to chat with friends and be myself

Right now some of you are probably thinking, “If you are who you say you are, then you should have nothing to hide, and friending someone on FB shouldn’t be a big deal”.  For me, it’s a very big deal.  I am a very private person who has very few close friends. Most of my Facebook friends are people I have known for 20+ years.

I have struggled with combining my two separate worlds into one since I started out with my own business.

The new marketing is all about being yourself and authentic, and I do agree with that, to a point.  What I don’t believe is that clients should expect to be allowed into your private world and I personally don’t think we should allow them in.  Once they are no longer clients or acquaintances and move to “true friends”, then by all means “friend” them.  Will this prevent me from developing deeper relationships with my clients?  Probably not.  If I want to get to know a client better, then a cup of coffee and a chat will replace Facebook any day.

However, if you want to fully divide your worlds, Facebook lets you filter content by creating groups, lists, and custom privacy settings.  For instructions and help on this, please see this link: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=132569486817869

Personally, I have no interest in managing groups and lists on Facebook.

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