Don’t you think the lines between professional and personal continue to blur on the internet?

So many of my Facebook friends are blogger friends.  But my LinkedIn contacts are more of my business relationships with links to my friends as well.  And many of my personal friends are bewildered by my obsession with marketing and branding.  But some of the business professionals I’ve never even met face to face have become personal friends.  How can that be?

I find that the line between friends and professional acquaintences continually morphs.

I used to try to keep it in smooth concentric circles —  or silos — if you will:

  • My closest, dearest friends.  Sisters. Relatives.
  • My trusted work relationships. Mentors. Comrades.
  • My friendly acquaintances. 
  • My strategic alliances.  Team.
  • My “mommy” circles.  Other soccer moms, scouting moms — until my kids got too old for needing mom around all the time.
  • Skiing friends.  Blogging friends.  Coffee girlfiends.  Holiday friends.  Church friends. 
  • Friends of my husband.  Spouses of his friends. People I come in contact with everyday.

I found it challenging when I left the “corporate” life to start my own marketing consulting company.

But it really got tough when social media came along and invited everyone to the same party.  Google+ circles is an attempt to separate everyone again.  And I noticed that a minute ago, when I sent a friend invitation to someone, they wanted me to categorize them again.

I count people whose blog I read everyday as a “friend”. How weird is that?  We’ve developed a relationship over the years, even though we’re not even close to the same zip code or even state. 

I think social media is called social for a reason.  But as any business person knows, leveraging  social relationships for business is nothing new.  How many of us have heard: it’s not what  you know, it’s who you know. 

Meanwhile the FTC insistes on full disclosure for bloggers.  And I am pretty sure that extends to all the social media as well.  But how far do you take it?  Does liking a page of one of your clients from your personal Facebook profile require full disclosure? Or friend a client’s personal Facebook page?

I’m curious how other marketing professionals handle this. 

I know I’m not the ONLY marketing person who struggles with how to balance work and personal life on line?  My post about Remember… It’s not BUSINESS media, it’s Social Media is one of my most read articles.

Please leave me a comment with how you deal with this issue. Or is it a NON-ISSUE for you>?

Does Your Social Media Activity Differ from your Business Marketing in the Social Networks?

5 thoughts on “Does Your Social Media Activity Differ from your Business Marketing in the Social Networks?

  • Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm
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    Hi, yes initially I didn’t really care whether it was important to be separate but slowly I realized it was important. Especially run if your own firm people started to ask me “hmmm do you liking another brand’s page means your brand is not as good as theirs?” although personally I liked the brand, it was important to have that separation. One person told me to create another account and do my personal things there. But I told myself that is like splitting myself into two and it’s NOT REALLY WHO I AM. I’m still only maintaining one account but have controlled myself to become more discreet.

  • Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 5:58 am
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    Jacob – I know what you mean. Doing 2 personal accounts would only make it worse… and I believe is against terms of service. Discretion is one answer for sure.

    thanks for commenting…
    Chris

  • Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 6:32 am
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    UPDATE: Just logged into Facebook this morning and was confronted with some new choices: Lists. And not the same as I thought I created…

    Reading their help page to figure this on out right now: http://www.facebook.com/help?page=768

    If you see someone post a great blog about this topic, please let me know. Thx. Chris

  • Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm
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    Depends which network to be honest. Twitter I use very personally and get great benefit from with little crossover from work. Facebook on the other hand is where we do most of our work and as I am always liking things to test them out and playing apps we build my own personal profile is polluted with useless brand stuff and the personal stuff gets lost.

  • Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm
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    Niall:
    I like how you say it: “Polluted with useless brand stuff”… it seems like it is so easy for brands to just use social media as a megaphone instead of the conversation that it was designed for.
    thanks for commenting!!
    Chris

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