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Split Facebook Personality

October 19, 2010

Split image - it can be an issue on facebookDo you have a past that you don’t want to mix with your present?  Or do you really want to keep your business life separate from your family and personal time.  Well, a lot of the social media experts say to get over it.  Be open, be “genuine”, let it all mix and mingle.  Sorry, I don’t buy it - at least not for everyone (and that includes me).

Most of the social media sites (twitter the notable exception) really make it difficult to have a split personality – business and personal – and Facebook makes it the hardest. But you can do it.   And if the reason you are not on Facebook is because you don’t want to do a mash-up of your lives, then this is the post for you.

Before I go any further, let me suggest that you think.  Think about where the lines are.  If you know someone from business and have become away from work friends, do you treat them as friends or business connections on Facebook?  Or if you have a pal from high school that is now someone you are doing business with, do connect with them as a business associate.  Having one profile is easier in some ways, and more complicated in others.

And if the line is somewhat blurry, or you can’t make a really clear distinction, you can use a single profile and the Friend Lists feature in Facebook.  Lists require you to think before you post – who do you want to see this, etc etc. - but it is a powerful feature when your lives are well intertwined. For me however, I wanted to have clear separation.

So how do you create 2 profiles?  Its as easy as having 2 email addresses, and I am guessing you probably have that.  And then making it clear which profile is for who is a friendly manner.  Personally, what I have done is to have only the about me and my profile picture available to everyone and the about me sections says “This is Dan's personal page. To connect with him professionally, please visit ..” with a link to my company fan page.  And I have done the inverse with my professional page and photo.

Okay, so if you aren’t on Facebook at all, this is a good way to start out.  But what if you are there already with a merged life that you want to start to segregate because you are tired of being embarrassed by your high school friends or because you want to build a fan page for your business and don’t want it connected to your personal page (or any of a hundred other reasons)?

My best advice here is to figure out what the majority of your current friends are – business or personal; past or present (however you have decided to split up your life) and then try the Friend List feature for a few weeks.  If you are finding that too awkward, then set up a new profile for whichever group is the smallest.  Then, honestly communicate with those friends you want to move from one group to another.  Let them know you have set up a new profile and that you will be reaching out to connect with them.  Then take the initiative and reach out to them from your NEW profile.  (don't make them find you again)

By the way, Facebook does frown on people having two profiles, but go ahead. It is free and gives them twice as much opportunity to advertise to you.

What do you think?  Have you handled this issue differently?  Is this helpful?  I’d appreciate your feedback.

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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