My direct answer to this months question of managing mixing work, friends, and family on Facebook is simple. I don’t mix them.
I lead a divided online life. I have my work life, SQL Server, Twitter friends, work friends, and work blogs that I follow. I also have a Facebook account that I use to follow and share things with my family and non-work friends. Sometimes they overlap a little, but for the most part I keep them separate. I am not Facebook friends with any one that I work with. I will sometimes share things about my work life on Facebook, but only if I think it will interest people (or I am trying to promote my blog.)
I’ve been on Facebook since September 24th 2007 (Thank you Facebook Timeline for that information). I singed up mostly because I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. My account sat unused for a long time and then in 2009 I started using it to connect with old friends. Mixed in with the kid who sat behind me in Junior High history I also reconnected with some great people who I had lost touch with. It soon became the primary method of sending pictures and updates to family and friends. I admit that I had a brief Mafia Wars addiction, but I managed to kick that habit by spending all my extra time on Twitter. I still use Facebook, but mostly to see how others are doing and to share in-the-moment pictures. If more of my family was on Twitter I would probably leave Facebook behind.
As social media continues to grow I see more articles about maintaining a professional presence online. Usually these articles are targeted at Facebook and thinking twice about posting that picture of you and the gang at the bar which everyone will find hilarious…except your next boss (or in extreme cases your current boss.) Even though I try to keep these two worlds separate I still recognize that part of my online presence is what shows up on my Facebook account and I keep that in mind when posting comments and pictures. Also my kids see what I put up there which is really all the filter I need.
#Meme15 is a monthly blogging event set up by Jason Strate (B|T) to share how we use social networks to enhance our careers and professional development. The assignment for March is – How do you balance mixing family, friends, peers, and co-workers on Facebook?