Friday, October 9, 2009

Facebook: Is your professional world mixing with your personal?

Mine started to. So I did something about it. A few weeks ago I created a separate, professional Facebook account using my work email address. Now, this is not simply so that I can network with colleagues, managers, and other people on a professional level. I found I also needed to have a separate account for my work duties - i.e. I recently started promoting corporate events via Facebook. I didn't want people clicking on "event creator" and not seeing anything at all because of my strict privacy settings, but I also didn't want people seeing/reading things about my personal life - people that I have not "friended."

Another reason I decided to start a separate professional account is because I often want to share my Tweets, or articles I'm reading, but most of it may not be relevant to my friends, classmates and extracurricular group members. And, I really try to avoid annoying people. I will now only post articles that are of a "broader" nature on my personal account.

So far, it has been working out well for me...although some people have asked me "Ana, what's with the two Facebook accounts?" I proceed with explaining that if they want to read / know more about my professional life, they can "friend" my second account too, and if not, then not to worry about it! Essentially, I'm giving them a heads up that my professional account will not talk about the movie I saw or the restaurant I went to, so not to expect that type of conversation there.

Furthermore, I find it very liberating to have a separte professional account - I don't have to worry about constantly saying no to professional contacts asking me to "friend" them when I don't know them well enough to share my entire personal life, and I can add people from Twitter whom I may not have ever met in person (which so far, my Facebook contacts have been 99% people I've met in person).

To sum up, here is my list of Pros/Cons of having separate personal/professional Facebook accounts:

  • separate personal chatter (movies, restaurants, vacation, parties) from professional (work projects, work travel, and articles I'm reading), and at times more serious subjects
  • not have to worry about giving wrong impression to professional contacts with some Wall posts posted by myself or others
  • ability to post more often on common interest subject matter - people on my professional account are usually from the same field or organization type (i.e. public sector) and are interested in similar things. My personal contacts audience is much broader, and only a small percentage may be interested in hearing about my work all the time.


  • Splitting time between two accounts
  • People commenting/wondering why there are two accounts, negativity?
  • Search engine stuff: both accounts will appear in results - how will Friends / Professional contacts decide which one to add as a friend?

Also, to comment on one of my "Cons" someone I know has added the word "work" and their Twitter handle to identify a particular Facebook account as their professional one - maybe I'll do that too?


Feel free to add additional pros and cons I may not have thought of!


  1. Interesting ... never thought of having two Facebook accounts. Instead I carefully put all my "friends" in groups and am very selective about which group sees what.

    Having said that, I think I concentrate most of my professional online presence on LinkedIn (the Facebook for working people! :)

  2. Good point Jame. I also do *most* of my professional networking on Linkedin and Twitter. However, and this just started happening recently, I've been getting a lot of requests from coworkers, and others on the professional side to 'friend' them. Furthermore, I have recently started using Facebook for work purposes. I guess I wanted to be prepared in case the amount of work-related stuff I do within Facebook starts to increase.

  3. Thank you, Ana. I was just wondering what to respond to one professional contact who wants to add me on Facebook. I'm going to draft now yet another email explaining why I don't want to 'befriend' him and how I try keeping fb reserved for personal use only. very good idea with two accounts. What do you do when someone invites you on your personal account? Do you 'ignore' them and invite them on your professional account?