by Ian Hoffman
Social Media has given us a great tool with which to connect with others. As with any tool, the result is all in how you use it. A baseball bat can hit a game-winning homerun, or smash the windshield of an ex-lover’s car. Listing the possible uses of a paperclip would fill pages upon pages. You get the point.
Let’s focus on one small, yet extremely important aspect of this idea: the line between personal and professional social media personas. I have a personal Facebook account, and I also help manage my work Facebook account. Are there things I can say on my personal account that I wouldn’t dare say on the work account? Absolutely! Do I want to say them? It depends.
I’m not going to spend much time on this part, but I want to get the obvious out of the way quickly. Don’t post personal thoughts or non-work-related items of ANY KIND on the official work pages/sites! Now on to the real deal. . .
Even though my personal account is a separate account for personal thoughts and updates, I will still be known to some people as a representative of the company I work for. So if I try to wax political on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it will probably get a conversation going with a few of my friends. It might even be a heated discussion. On the surface, there shouldn’t be any problems with this. What you don’t know, dear reader, is that I am good friends with a few clients. If any of them see the postings and think bad thoughts about me as a friend, it’s not a huge deal. However, consider I am on staff at a school. If those same friends see the postings and think something like, “I can’t believe I leave my kids around people that think such stupid and obviously erroneous thoughts”, then we may have a serious problem.
Another way to screw up the personal/professional line is to have a brain fart and forget which account you’re logged into. This may sound like another obvious point, but trust me, it happens more than you’d think. Click here and here for a couple drastic examples, as well as a few more thoughts on the personal/professional line.
Remember that although you can put your own voice into the work posts, there should still be lines. In this super-fast-paced world, it’s important to slow down and TAKE TIME TO REVIEW EVERYTHING. You don’t want to accidentally tell everyone following your company that you’re pretty sure your father just sharted at Chili’s.