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The Facebook Identity Crisis

Blog Contributor Professional Development, Technology & Social Media, Work/Life Balance 21 Comments

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Stefanie Hahn

Stefanie Hahn

By Stefanie Hahn

Do you live your life as two people – one person at work and another person at home?

Probably not…

So why are you trying to be two people online???

I am seeing many of you with multiple identities on Facebook – the one you created for “work stuff” and the one that you created to share the rest of the stuff in your life.  In my humble opinion, this is a bad idea.  At its core Facebook is a social network.  Never forget that.  Not that you can’t get business from Facebook – you absolutely can – but I don’t think you will get business by posting your listings on your wall everyday and telling me to hurry up and buy before the $8,000 tax credit runs out.  In fact, I will probably break up with you on Facebook if I haven’t already.

From a practical standpoint, think about the time.  Maintaining one identity on Facebook can be time-consuming, but two… well now you’re talking second job.  And what about those friends that find you on the “wrong” identity?  Some friends might be both a “work” and “other” connection.  Do you add them as a friend under both of your Facebook accounts?  How annoying would that be for the added friend?  A quick post on the wrong wall and then what?

For me, the line that used to exist between my personal life and my work life has been seriously smudged.  Unlike many, however, I’ve welcomed it with open arms – because I pay very special attention to privacy settings.  I will let you in, but you might not being seeing everything that a close friend would see – and the best part is that you never know.  When I connect with someone on Facebook, I use “lists” to clarify our relationship – are we pals, family, work, etc.?  Making this decision is the key to managing Facebook.

The group to which I assign people most often is a “limited” group.  Think of it as “Stefanie Lite” … you get some of me, but not the juicy bits– just like in the office.  I also lock this group out of certain photo albums and video feeds.  In essence – these are my “water-cooler” friends; we talk, but there are just some things we’re not sharing.

Mostly though, I have learned to turn down the social and turn up the work a bit.  A very little bit – keep Facebook social.  Sure I want to hear about that great new listing that you have, but not every stinking day.  You can get business from Facebook, but you will get the business by building and strengthening your relationships through the social aspects – sharing photos, updating your status, and telling someone happy birthday.  People want to work with you because they think you are good and they like you, not because you managed to amass the greatest number of real estate related status updates.

So quit being two people – it’s so much healthier and saves you time.  Let your privacy settings do all the work while you maximize the benefits Facebook has to offer.

Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.

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Comments 21

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Facebook Identity Crisis : YPN Lounge -- Topsy.com

  2. Interesting point about keeping people on different lists and managing the privacy settings. I’ll have to look into that myself!

  3. Even with lists, I’d still disagree with someone having a single profile for professional + personal reasons. Much of what you may want to restrict from professional contacts (Most notably your Wall and comments that your “friends” and you may post about your weekend in Vegas) is what you would want to have those “professional contacts” or “clients” see as you make updates about your professional successes. Now I can see your point that you’d want your friends to see your professional information, success and consider you when needing to buy or sell a home (or in my case need a loan), but the issues with having a single profile center more around your clients and professional connections that are not your friends.

    If you want a place to “work” on Facebook (which I can fully understand having when you’re a Realtor or a Mortgage professional) you can, and should, simply create a Group. People can become fans of your group, you can communicate with those clients and professional contacts via that group and keep your personal life restricted to your real friends and family on your profile.

    Protecting your “Social Stock” isn’t easy and Facebook unfortunately has the friend angle to be considered. While you may not say anything to worry about, your friends may do so.

  4. Hi Rob – thanks for your comment. Using lists with different privacy settings in Facebook has really helped me with managing who sees what on my profile. In addition, lists also help me filter through my connections updates quickly – rather than having everyone jumbled into one news feed.

  5. Hi Ryan – thanks for your comment. You touched on one thing that I really wanted to include in this post, but ran out of room – fan pages. I agree – creating a Facebook fan page is a great way to promote your business and really allows you to maintain your personal profile and the business fan page separately.

    For me, the lists are working. I should also say that I don’t connect with everyone. If I don’t know you, I ignore the friend request. I share too much on Facebook to connect with someone I don’t know.

  6. Stefanie, this is fantastic! I couldn’t agree with this article more.

    As far as worrying about your weekend Vegas pics…why not set rules for yourself? Meaning…set the privacy settings on all photos of you that are tagged. Or put your drink down before smiling for the photo opp. Or better yet…remember that if you’re doing something in public that’s not Facebook worthy and could be detrimental to your career…maybe you should reconsider what you’re actually doing.

  7. Hi Jessica – thanks for your comment. Great point! You can always lock certain lists or individuals out of seeing your tagged photos and videos. Also comes in handy if you were having a bad hair day …

  8. Stefanie, thank you for this timely post. I have been considering doing a “page” for business but after reading your post I am not sure that is necessary. Of course, one of the reasons I was considering a page is that I understood that business was not to be posted on the primary FB and that if it was FB could cancel your account.. There seems to be mixed messages out there. Does anyone know anything about this?

  9. Hi Sandra – thanks for commenting. I think Fan Pages are a great idea for promoting your business. Of course, you are going to post on your personal profile about work – it would be impossible not too. Just don’t overdo it.

  10. I love using the different lists within one Facebook account – I don’t think I could keep things straight otherwise with multi accounts. With social media being such a huge part of our industry now I think this is a challenge for many. I went to a great social media conference that reminded those of us in the Real Estate biz regardless of the company we may work for – WE are still our most important brand. So, if someone doesn’t want to work with me because I post personal photos/comments/links than maybe it wouldn’t be the best fit anyway. Sometimes we may not feel like real people, but it is important that our future clients understand we are real people, often times with similar interests.

  11. Stephanie,

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t have multiple profiles, but I do utilize a fan page for business purposes. I will post some business stuff on my personal account, but the fan page is strictly business. The reason I utilize the fan page is that anyone with a Facebook account can become a fan, but it limits them only to the information kept on the fan page. I will have to look into setting up groups. That is an approach I have not thought about utilizing. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Erica – thank you for your comment. I agree! My Facebook profile is a reflection of who I am, so anyone that I am connected with (on any list) will see my personality shine through – like it or not! The good thing is that our consumers are responding to this new level of openness.

  13. Hi Jeremy – thanks for commenting! Yes, fan pages are great for talking business with those who want to listen. For me, using the lists in Facebook has really helped me stay organized and save time.

    PS: I love your posts!

  14. I noticed this myself when I started Facebook and I have a personal page and built a Fan Page to interact with my Real Estate-clients butnocticed over time this has been a bit hard due to the limits of the Fan Page. great to know that we can have them as friends but not show so much of my personal life.

  15. Totally agree with u Stefanie,

    I’m having about 20 invites a day and…..to tell the truth, I am not interested in someone’s pro-profile. Why should I? I want to know who this person is, that’s why I’m there. If I want to see ur professional profile, I’ll go to ur website or Linked In, etc.

  16. It’s interesting … while I have many real estate friends on Facebook, the only people I have “unfriended” are real estate people. One was a friend who started posting political items, two were friends of friends who only posted listings information, and one was a friend of a friend who only posted “inspirational” quotes and pictures (does she have a life?). All my other real estate friends utilize fan pages very well, and all of them have nicely balanced lives. I appreciate seeing both their personal and business sides on FB.

  17. Hi Inna – thanks for you comment! We are in agreement 🙂

    Hello CJ – thanks for commenting! I have broken up with a few real estate friends on FB as well. It sounds like you have some RE friends who are creating the right mix!

  18. Hiya! Great post, and great points. Please keep in mind that using your personal profile for business purposes goes against Facebook’s terms of service, and they are within their right to disable your account (or delete it) if you use it to promote your business. That is why business/fan pages were created. I do know people personally who have had to re-create their profile after having it taken down for too much business use.

    The main benefit to the business page is that people opt-in to receive that information, versus your friends of your profile, who didn’t necessarily sign up to receive any business info at all. Obviously Facebook continues to evolve as people and businesses use it in different ways. Your mileage may vary!

    Just my two cents.


  19. Great post, Stefanie.
    I think people need to keep in mind that it’s called “SOCIAL media” for a reason. It’s a non-threatening and non-salesy way to keep in touch with friends and past clients. Commenting on their walls or photos are ways of interacting, which is the whole point of social media like twitter and facebook. Engaging in relationships.

    Great post.

  20. Well said, Stefanie! I love Inna’s comment too. It’s a much better use of time to utilize another social media tool to put all of your eggs in one basket. Lord knows there are plenty out there!

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