I’m always interested in how other social media practitioners handle their personal accounts. My own social media channels now remind me of the hairdresser with the bad hair. An old friend of mine often said that he’d only get his hair cut by the person with the worst hair. His logic was that this person was cutting all the other hairstylists’ hair, so he must be pretty good or working pretty hard. My social channels could use a good purge and a fresh eye for following new voices. But I am busy cutting everyone else’s hair, as it were.
Some of my fellow social media practitioners set up secret Facebook accounts just for their private lives, others segment their communities and then hide their updates from these groups. My approach when I started at CMD was to keep Facebook for my personal life, and Twitter for everything else. Well, that plan unraveled within the first week that I landed in the Earned Media team—a group of fellow social media lovers.
Though the option is certainly there to start new accounts just for my personal adventures, over the course of my year here, I’ve realized that it’s impossible to keep my personal social channels separate from my professional life. And not hiding my personal tweets or status updates forces me to create the same quality of content for myself that I do for my clients. In other words, I need to keep it clean.
Years ago, at my very first PR job, my boss said, “You are always representing your clients. 24 hours a day, you are representing your clients.”
Certainly, my social channels are not all RT’s of client news, or marketing insights from others, though there is some of that. I tweet and Facebook about my personal life frequently. Like my struggle to make a decent pie. But snark, irony and my rage general concern about Portland’s painfully slow cautious driving habits occur now in the privacy of my car or home instead of in my updates.
Occasionally I miss the snark. But mostly I accept it as a tradeoff for working in an industry that I love. Yes, I get to work with Facebook and Twitter and blogs all day long. And I am representing my clients on these social channels 24 hours a day. I’ve given up one for the other.
How do you manage your personal social media channels? Do you create secret accounts, or file professional contacts in a private folder? Or do you let it all hang out?