Do I Need Two Facebook Accounts: One for Friends and One for Business?

Recently I received an email from someone who had been reading some of my recent articles on Facebook. He saw that I had an open invitation to friend me on Facebook, and he wondered whether he wanted to start using his established Facebook account to connect with business associates, or create a new account specifically for that purpose.

Well, the answer for Facebook is easy: Facebook's terms don't allow yout to create multiple accounts, nor do they allow you to create one for your company. (For advice on how to get your company onto Facebook, check out my recent article Facebook for Small Business and Entrepreneurs.)

However, outside of Facebook, the rules of social media are murkier. Personally, I think that having two accounts on any one social media site would add too much stress to an already busy social media calendar. And where do you draw the line between business and friendship?

I've heard from Facebook experts who say you shouldn't put anything on your Facebook profile that you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Times (or Fast Company magazine, for that matter.)

Well, maybe they're not living as interesting lives as you and me.

Although I believe a life/work balance is important, I no longer see them as opposite sides of some giant scale. Rather, there are elements of my personal life that infiltrate my work day, and parts of my work that follow me home. This has even gotten more crazy now that my wife and I work together.

However, I don't see this as a bad thing. As long as I'm enjoying what I do for work, as long as it fulfills a need for me and I'm passionate about it, I expect there to be a lot more overlap between life/work. Social media is just breaking down that wall faster.

There are some tools in Facebook and other social media sites that let you determine your levels of privacy, allowing you to share your kids' photos with friends and family, but not with business associates. Take advantage of them.

However, as small business owners/participants, one of our strong selling points is our accessibility. Social media plays to our strengths in this regard. So go ahead and let everyone know that you're excited for the upcoming Spiderman musical, or that you're heading out to your kids recital. It makes you seem more real.

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  • Susan Doran

    hi Rich - Susan Doran from MaineUX!

    Interesting piece. You and I had a very similar conversation quite recently.

    From what I'm seeing and hearing the strain on people's time, attention, and interest bandwidth is becoming a serious issue. For people for whom social networking isn't all that new, the novelty started wearing thin when facebook (et al) hit tipping point a while back.

    It's gratifying that so many people are catching the bug. And presents real challenges and opportunities for technologies, tools, and human behaviors to scale up. We're not even near critical mass yet. It won't be too long before people are yearning for the SN equiv of zero inbox.

    I think for innovators such as yourself the question may become what can we do to improve social networking tools so that they more closely resemble human lives and social systems (looking for inspiration at chaos and complexity theory, as well as more finely interpreting social networking theory).

    As is--and as exhilarating as it is especially for recent adopters--we're dealing with a very blunt set of instruments.

    People I know professionally are plenty real to me. Principally, I want to know the quality of their work, their reputation, the keenness and sophistication of their intellect, how innovative and creative their solutions are, how well they keep up with who and what's happening in the world outside Maine, how adeptly they interface with me as a client and my diverse workforce, and for good measure a few personal intangibles, and a few personal life details (but not a indiscriminate firehose).

    I'm sure we'll have many interesting discussions as we continue to cross paths...out here, as well as at home on Exchange Street :)