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Mixing Business with Your NSFW Personal Views on Social Media. How Can You Avoid It?

   
Posted by Jane Johnson on Dec 12, 2016 12:53:29 PM
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For more awesome cat pictures and technology buyer insights, follow Jane on Twitter. @Jane_PivotAdmittedly, I wasn’t a super early adopter of social media. I’ve since warmed to Facebook—it did just make me a nice video to celebrate our 8-year anniversary. I see clear opportunities to use social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn for business marketing purposes, but my own personal engagement has been limited. (Apologies to my Twitter followers.) Coming off this pretty heated campaign season has me thinking about the increasingly blurring lines between professional and personal contacts.

LinkedIn has built-in clarity for how it should be used—it’s a professional network. But if you maintain only one account for Twitter and Facebook, you may feel like it’s time to establish some boundaries. I started accepting friend requests from clients and professional contacts on Facebook a couple of years ago. My Twitter account @Jane_Pivot is pretty business-focused. I’ve wanted to follow some feeds that are of personal interest to me but have so far refrained. I don’t want you to judge my taste (or lack thereof) in music.

When you mix personal and professional, you create risk for your business. The campaign season we just experienced put a spotlight on just how damaging differing opinions can be to any relationship. Conventional business wisdom tells us to avoid controversial topics or comments that get you one-on-one time with HR. But when your business contacts follow your personal posts, you can feel exposed. Like you want to add a disclaimer. And there’s such relief when your business friend confirms that he or she also thinks like you. It’s a relief because you know it was a risk to put your personal views in an open forum.

A Risky Proposition

I enjoy engaging in political discussions and I hate to deprive myself for fear I’ll lose a business opportunity. I’d also hate to deprive anyone of my amazing cat photos by not accepting a friend request. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve discussed this dilemma with a few of my colleagues who own small businesses or who mix personal and work contacts. These conversations revealed another dimension of the professional-personal posting conundrum—it’s not just the way your professional contacts feel about you that could change, but it’s also how you feel about them.

Want to stand out from the crowd at ISE? Learn how.Keeping Work and Play Separate

How can you avoid hurting your business but still freely express your views? I ended up creating lists. I’d post NSFW items to my NSFW list and cat photos and other harmless posts to all. I should have enacted the list strategy a lot sooner than I did (I was busy trolling – nicely). While I think most people I know professionally can be trusted with any of my content, I do feel better about this approach. I would hate to offend someone who truly was just a fan of the cats and the helpful posts I share. On the flip side, I started to avoid reading certain posts—although I did learn A LOT about Libertarianism from a writing colleague. I didn’t convert but it wasn’t a bad experience.

Other options include maintaining separate social media accounts or better yet, redirecting would-be Facebook friends to your LinkedIn profile and asking them to follow your business Facebook page instead.

Your Turn

How do you manage your personal and professional social media? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Topics: social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn