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Can Professional and Personal Boundaries Be Easily Defined in Social Media?

Here’s an issue that experienced and aspiring social marketers will face: How to effectively balance publishing content related to your business, and your personal life on the social web. While personal content can help create a connection and rapport with your audience, it can sometimes be a double-edge sword.

In an episode of TheSpew, a business-related podcast on the GeekCast content network, I had the opportunity to discuss this issue with Missy Ward, Lisa Picarille, Connie Berg and Karen White.

While Missy and Shawn Collins are able to effectively inject personal opinions, together with the business content in their twitter streams and blog posts, some of us who’re focused towards corporate clients who are less familiar with the social media environment and operate on a more “rules-based” corporate culture, seeing someone tweet about how great “Lost” was last night or “Free Cone Day” at Ben and Jerry’s might be perplexed, confused and even get riled up because they can’t figure it out.

If you’re a consultant/trainer, there’s a split between presenting a professional image because that’s what’s expected, compared to having the free rein to say what you really think.

It was insightful hearing Lisa, Karen, Connie and Missy who are all engaged with consulting, share their experience in managing these expectations. And any social marketer can get some food for thought in handling this personal vs professional dichotomy on the social networks.

Check out TheSpew Episode #8 on GeekCast.

3 comments on Can Professional and Personal Boundaries Be Easily Defined in Social Media?

  1. Kim
    May 16, 2009 at 5:08 am (4267 days ago)

    Good post Andrew. Before I started my social media profiles, I spent some time decided how much I would combine my personal and business tweets and interactions. Some networks are more casual than others – Twitter – so I feel more free to incorporate more personal messages.

  2. Erica
    May 16, 2009 at 6:09 am (4267 days ago)

    I agree, I have a very hard time with this scenario myself with Facebook. I like to make the connections with people and I want to build rapport with my affiliates and co workers. But at the same time, I like to keep my personal and professional life separate. What I have done in this situation is use Twitter and Linked in for my professional life and build rapport that way, and Facebook for my personal life- specifically to get in touch with old friends and stay in touch with friends who have moved etc. and that tends to be a good balance.

  3. Bernice
    June 17, 2009 at 3:05 am (4235 days ago)

    Hi Andrew,

    In teaching online PR across the US we realized that for many people search is still a bit of a mystery. So we developed a News Optimization Toolbar with step-by-step instructions on how to optimize a press release. These instructions were written by Sally Falkow, who was one of the first PR practitioners to learn this skill and teach it to others. The toolbar also has links to all the websites and tools needed to do each step.

    You can find out more about the toolbar at http://www.press-feed.com/results/news/news.php?include=139210

    The toolbar can be downloaded free at http://www.press-feed.com/toolbar.

    We’d love to hear your feedback. And if you think the toolbar has value, please pass the links on to your readers.

    If you have questions about the toolbar, or you’d like to speak to Sally, let me know.


    Bernice Infante
    PR Resources Manager

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