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The Two Faces of Privacy on Facebook

Because Facebook started out as a personal network, it has been a hard transition for people to become used to it as a professional network. Originally, most people used LinkedIn as a professional network and Facebook as a personal network. But with the growth rate of Facebook, many began to turn to it as a personal branding tool and professional network.

Marketers turned to Facebook with Facebook Pages, Groups, and advertisements as a way to reach out to their prospects, customers, and fans. This transition created a dilemma for many folks because they resisted using Facebook as a professional network, yet their colleagues, competition, and companies were becoming active on the network.

Also, as we develop friends in our industries, we want to extend that friendship and therefore turn to Facebook. This starts to blur that line even further between work and home. However, as Dawn Foster of Web Worker Daily points out, we don’t want to confuse “personal” for “private”: “You can actually be professional and personal at the same time in social media without too much effort.

When we talk about ‘being personal’ on social media websites, we think that many people confuse ‘personal’ with ‘private.’ The reality is that you get to decide what to share and what not to share, so you can still keep most areas of your private life private.” To deal with this dilemma, individuals typically have three options to choose from:

  • A single Facebook profile that combines personal and professional.
  • Two different Facebook profiles: one personal and one professional.
  • Keeping Facebook personal only and not mixing work into it.

Each one of these has both upsides and downsides with no clear answer or best practice, as of yet. Although it might not be clear yet, this will be important for you as a marketer or company. Let’s explore each of these options.

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