Have you accumulated 500 million friends yet? Me neither. But, it hasn’t stopped me from trying…
When I first got on Facebook, I was rather skeptical. All I heard was that it had this annoying Farmville game that was all anyone ever talked about. However, I knew that to help my company grow, I needed to get active on the social media channels.
Therefore, I started connecting to business colleagues that I found on Facebook. Then, predictably, I got flooded with invitations from former classmates, long lost friends, and family members.
The first group was interested in posts about recent site launches and new technologies, but the latter group, not so much. Likewise, the latter group constantly asked for baby pictures and things like that, things that the business users didn’t really care for.
So for me, the line got very blurry – how should I be using Facebook?
It is Blurry, If You Think About It
In the social media realm, no site has been more successful than Facebook. Facebook’s subscriber numbers are through the roof and it continues to grow at a ridiculous pace. Heck, Facebook even had a movie about it released this past year.
However, no site is also as ambiguous when it comes to how to make the divide between personal and business use. Sure, you can setup User Groups, but you can't really restrict business colleagues from seeing personal photos and personal friends from seeing business posts.
A site like LinkedIn makes its objective very clear: “a networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners” (from LinkedIn.com). There are no personal photo galleries; Friends are called Colleagues, and even “wall posts” are almost always business-related (and never talk about getting inebriated on Friday night…).
However, with Facebook, that's hardly the case. Facebook’s objective reads: “Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them” (from Facebook.com). Not exactly a clear distinction between personal and business use.
With Facebook, one post could be a picture of a young child playing baseball and the next could be directing users to a recent blog post. So it begs the question: should you have two Facebook accounts?
Is Two Better than One?
A colleague of mine doesn’t really utilize LinkedIn, but is an avid Facebook user. Therefore, he connects with business contacts all the time on Facebook.
And, while Ektron management isn’t thrilled with some of his college-age photo galleries on Facebook, they certainly want to encourage him to continue connecting with business contacts because it has proved to be a successful approach to building relationships with our clients. Because of this, I believe he is the perfect candidate for the two Facebook account approach.
His current Facebook account can remain for personal use. Pictures of him at the Red Sox games can remain, noting that he’s 'in a relationship’, etc… He can then create a second account and re-connect with his business contacts there.
In that account, he can post work-related information and downloads, information about his professional background, and other material that his personal friends likely don’t care about. And the best part is that this allows him to continue using the tool he’s most comfortable with to manage both sets of relationships.
Naysayers will say that maintaining two accounts is too much work, but is it, really? With mobile devices capable of supporting multiple accounts, and tools like Tweetdeck for your PC, it is easier than it has ever been.
And just think, if we all start setting up two Facebook accounts, there will be twice as many friends out there to connect with to get to 500 million…
What say you? Is having two Facebook accounts a bad idea? Comment below to tell everyone why.
Personally, I use LinkedIn for business-only contacts, and Facebook for friends, the way each network intended.