Tips for Keeping Both a Personal and Professional Social Media Life • Privacy Snapper

“It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.” This line makes me think of somebody in a dark suit, holding a cigarette and staring down at another person who looks utterly speechless. That could be because it’s very close to a line from The Godfather. But nowadays, this notion only holds true on t.v. and movie sets, as more and more employers look to Facebook and social media accounts to get to know a candidate before even having an interview with them. So instead, maybe the line should be, “it is personal: it’s business!” The scary reality is that online life can impact your academics, career, and day to day life beyond the borders of the screen.

Facebook and Twitter, once purely social sites, are now being used to promote companies and many people’s work lives, intertwining them with their personal lives online. This makes it difficult to have a clear distinction between a work and personal life online. Some people are comfortable with mixing their personal and business lives, affirming that they will not hide who they are; but most people understandably lean towards the idea that they live separate lives depending on the company that surrounds them. Personally, I agree that while it’s difficult to keep the two apart, separating one’s professional and personal online lives is best. To make that divide easier to maintain, here are some tips that will help to detach your personal from your professional life online.

1. Different Network, Different Side

For your personal life you can use Facebook, and for your work life you can use LinkedIn. This may be a safer approach, as LinkedIn caters to a business-oriented crowd. A LinkedIn profile is almost like a resume online, whereas a Facebook profile is more of a digital social event. More importantly, a LinkedIn profile does not require you to be as personal as a Facebook profile: you are not going to add the 130 pictures from your trip around Europe to your LinkedIn profile, but you will most likely be gracing everyone’s Facebook News Feed with them. Keeping these two profiles separate will allow you to keep your fun side online, while also allowing your business side to grow.

Google Trend of of Linkedin Usage over the past 10 years

2. Leave the business to one

If you have a Twitter and Facebook account, leave the business to one side. Push your business contacts to only view one of the profiles instead of discussing all of them, and ensure that you aren’t connecting these two profiles. Many prefer to keep Twitter as their professional account as it is more of a public forum where you can attach links for longer descriptions, and you don’t need to get into great detail within your profile description. You can also add pictures without necessarily making a whole album.

3. Two pages are better than one

If you’re feeling the pressure to have a Facebook page that you can connect to your business life, then do just that: create a page that is strictly for your business profile, and keep the personal one on lockdown for just your friends. Within Facebook you can create a company page that acts as your public figure page. With this page you won’t have friends, but instead ‘fans’, or people that like your page. Here is where you would get your business contacts to like your page in order to establish business connections that future employers or customers can see. If you are the type of person who likes to have multiple social media accounts, then you can easily associate your business Twitter account with your Facebook company page.

4. Work those privacy settings

It’s great to have multiple social media accounts, one for business and one for personal, but it will be completely useless to separate the two unless you work out those privacy settings. Privacy settings are always available on social media accounts, and if they are not readily available that’s a clear sign to steer away from it. With your Facebook options you can decide who sees what on your profile, including pictures, personal information, and status updates. So never feel the pressure to hide everything, just make sure you’re double-checking those settings.

An important privacy setting to always check is the one under ‘who can look me up?’ This setting includes who can look you up using your phone number, your email address, and on other search engines (like Google). For your personal Facebook page I would suggest having this privacy setting set to the strictest option so that only friends can search you through your email address; the same goes for phone number, and I would keep the search engines option at a “no” (meaning that when someone puts your name into a search engine like Google, your Facebook page will not appear in the results). Of course, for your business page you may want to keep these settings more broad so customers and employers can easily reach the business side of you.

5. If worse comes to worst

Although I don’t completely agree with this last method, there is always option to totally take yourself off of social media. The only people I suggest this to are people who do not feel comfortable on social media at all. The Internet is not something to shy away from: it is something that can help a business immensely, as everything in this generation is connected to some sort of media site. In fact, as I write this in a coffee shop I’m staring at a sign that says “Join us on our social media sites!”. We can’t hide from social media, but we can choose how to handle our privacy and how/who views us online.

Never forget!

While we tweak those settings and create new profile settings, never forget to read the privacy policy of a website you are creating an account on! Making sure your personal profile is strictly for yourself and friends will not help if the privacy policy does not comply with the settings you prefer. If you are having a problem keeping up with all of the privacy policies you’ve reviewed, the best solution is to download the Privacy Snapper App! It’ll help you keep control of the privacy policies you’ve agreed to and maintains an updated list for you.


Bringing it all together

Do you think two separate profiles are worth it, or would you rather just keep one appropriate page for everything? If you are having trouble with keeping up a personal and business profile never hesitate to leave me a comment, or question!

The last thing I want to leave you with is this: never shy away from social media accounts if you feel like it will help you gain positive attention, as the Internet is something that can help and encourage us. Just remember to keep in mind privacy settings, different accounts, and privacy policies. Other than that, continue to conquer the business world!

Originally published at on August 18, 2015.

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