Social Media: Public vs. Private.


An interesting thing is happening on the Internet, and maybe you've noticed the same.  People I know who run small businesses are opting to open separate personal social media accounts and making them private.  For instance, their business will have a Twitter account, and then they will have another one under their own name.  I'm seeing this more and more, and it got me thinking about the reasons why someone would choose to do this- it seems like a lot of work to keep up with two accounts.

As a businessperson, I feel like part of the reason for using social media is for people to get to know you better, so if you are a business, especially a single-person business like so many of us creatives are, it seems like it would be good to let your personality come out through your social media in order to connect with the public.  On the other hand, I totally understand wanting a divide: just because you are somewhat of a public entity through your business does not make your entire life public. In that situation, you have to decide what you're going to put out there and what you're not and you have to make sure not to overstep your line.

Personally, I only have one set of everything. Part of that is because it's too much of a pain for me to try and remember to switch accounts, and part of it gives me a gentle reminder that I don't, indeed, need to share everything. I keep my kids out of my social media for the most part, barely any photos and I try to only mention them when it's something frustrating or funny. You don't really need to know their favorite foods, and many of you probably don't even care. For me it's just keeping and maintaining a simple divide. I have to remember that I am a business and that I want to keep things a little more formal.

However, I know there are people out there that use social media as a form of contact with relatives who are far away, in which case, personal, private accounts are a good idea. Some people want to keep up a certain persona for business and then not worry about their commentary with friends and family.  And then there are those people who are just more open about their lives in general and who don't worry about making a divide between the two. I love that attitude of what you see is what you get, and it makes for interesting reading.

So I ask you- do you think businesses should stick to business and make a personal account for personal use?  What types of things should be held back in public?  What types of personal things should businesses share?  Do you have separate accounts and why? 

13 comments

  1. I actually feel this way about family more than I do about business. I feel that I need to have a separate social media account for my family and everything else for friends and business. I really like to keep my family away from my day to day life so if I found out they were on twitter and started following the business part then I would shut it down because I'm on twitter WAY more than facebook. That being said, I like the idea of getting to know the person behind the business so I don't think its a big deal to have all the same account unless you are a person who needs to share everything and anything about your life and family. I do think that if you decide to use your business social media accounts as personal accounts, its best to not complain about customers and stuff like that. In fact, it might be a good idea to avoid getting involved in political matters too. Just because those are things potential customers can be turned off by.

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  2. I don't mind having everything under the same account. I think that it brings a human aspect to your business. It makes people realize that they aren't working with a corporation, but an actual maker. I think that it's bad to complain about customers or just other issues that are super negative. I also try to keep a lot of political stuff and religious stuff out of my posts. I do a pretty good job with that, but then every now and again, I get in a funk and I'll have a good rant...lol. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's ok to be personal, but do it in a professional way.

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  3. Paige @ Little NostalgiaJuly 1, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    I think it's a shame when people have separate accounts for everything because then a handmade business feels less personal and more like a company. Part of the appeal of a small business is getting to know who runs it, and if they have separate accounts then that doesn't really happen. Obviously how much you share is up to you, and I think it's possible to maintain some privacy even with combined accounts. You're a good example of that, actually!

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  4. I think we're still trying to figure out the right level of personal to share. We want to be honest, we want to be personal, but is it too much? What's the right level of sharing for what we're trying to do? Does everything we think, feel, or experience HAVE to go on the internet, or are some of those really charged conversations better for a close group of friends over a glass of wine or several? And yes, the besties Skype date with wine is one of my favorite ways of testing whether a topic is blog-worthy or not.


    I like the idea of having one account just because it does a better job of reminding me to stay accountable to all my potential audiences - family, friends, clients, co-workers, bosses, etc. I think separating them out gives people a false sense of privacy, and also eliminates some of the personal engagement that a lot of us really enjoy seeing from people, from celebrities to businesses.

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  5. The only social media I keep as personal is my personal Facebook page, that is where I do the bitching and complaining I don't feel comfortable posting in public. There are some things I even keep off my blog but think it's ok to still share on Twitter and Instagram like some of my quirky interest. I think the face of business is changing anyway where people want to see more personality come through. Plus it sounds like having separate accounts for personal and professional is just extra work.

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  6. The point you make about not complaining about customers is huge! There are definitely times when I want to complain but don't simply because you never know who's reading, or which potential customer you may upset.

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  7. Totally agree! And like I just said to Ayla above, it's so important to really make sure you aren't angering potential customers. But, you are human, so things happen. :)

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  8. Thank you! I appreciate that. Sometimes it's a hard balance and I forget that I'm not supposed to be sharing some things, and I've even deleted comments I've made because I don't want to come off as THAT person. And I don't feel like that's really hiding anything because it's just one aspect of me. Everyone's a crab sometimes. :)

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  9. I think you summed it up really well when you said one account keeps you accountable. It's a reminder to be polite across the board, and maybe do a little unloading on close friends instead. I personally don't believe every single little thing needs to be broadcast on the internet, and that even with filtering you can get a sense of who a person is from what they share.

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  10. Yea, I am of the lazy sort who doesn't want to toggle back and forth, and I know I'd forget to do it and have to keep deleting things and reposting! I think if you know your audience- and I do think there is a different one for each platform we use- then you can play to that and post what you're comfortable with.

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  11. My grandfather always used to say "One set of manners will take you anywhere." I believe him. If you break out your good set of manners for every circumstance, the skeletons stay nicely organized and catalogued in the closet. We can all admit they're there, but we don't have to take them out and look at them.

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  12. This is the most nicely stated comment I've ever received. What great advice, and a great way to sum it up!

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