Those of us who use social-media tools at work will appreciate a feature story in last week's Crain's Chicago Business about the collisions at the intersection of users' business and personal lives.
The story, “Mistaken identities,” by Lisa Bertagnoli, gives eight examples of how Chicago-area managers reacted when they realized messages they posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and foursquare could have implications in their business and personal lives.
“A social-media user's business and private personalities can clash online,” Bertagnoli writes. “Personal opinions, on anything from religion to a brand, can rile employers. And too much business news can irk friends, who expect personal gossip and photos.”
The managers she interviewed are using a variety of strategies to deal with the business vs. private issue. Some have multiple social media accounts, targeted for either business or friends — with no overlap. Others have only personal accounts where they avoid any business issues. In a few cases, the managers decided that their business and private personas are indistinguishable.
For those just getting familiar with social media, keep in mind that lines can be blurry. For example, if you have a personal Facebook account, and a close business colleague or a customer wants to “friend” you, how do you react? When is it OK to block them?
I'm not surprised managers handle these issues so differently. In the business-to-business arena, applications for social media are still pretty new, and “best practices” rules are waiting to be written.
Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.”