My So-Called (Double) Life… On Facebook

Shhh … don’t tell Facebook, but I have two accounts. No, I’m not two different people, but they serve two different purposes. One is a public profile that is entirely viewable to anyone, anytime. I use this one exclusively in my role as GEICO’s HR social media lead. My personal page is on lockdown – only confirmed friends can view the juicy bits of my life outside of work.

Some people advise that you should have one profile that follows a “profersonal” approach. They say we can no longer separate our professional and personal lives because the line is too blurry. That work-life carries over into home-life, and vice a versa. As a work-at-home mom, there is literally no separation of work and life for me, and I agree these lives blend quite extensively. However, I respectfully disagree that they have to online. For several years, I have been successfully managing my online life via two Facebook accounts.

So, why this so-called double life? I have work friends, work partners, work vendors and work contacts. I connect on Facebook with HR gurus, social media experts, job applicants, and career center directors. From my work account, I post jobs to the Facebook Marketplace, manage the GEICO Careers page, and “like” job boards, career advice blogs and industry-specific pages. If you’re interested in jobs at GEICO, resume and interview advice, and goings-on in the HR social media world … friend me. Having a professional-only presence helps me to organize, focus and manage many aspects of my work.

My personal page allows me stay actively communicate and stay touch with family, college friends, high school friends, mom friends and select work friends. I post coupon codes and recipes. I upload photos of my two girls and from my weekend antics. My status updates include s**t my four year old says and a countdown to my Disney vacation. I use this account to comment on friends’ walls and coordinate play dates … well, now you know what you’re missing!

Most of my work contacts do not traverse into my friend world. And, quite frankly, I’m a relatively private person who just doesn’t want to share everything with everyone. I don’t want Joe Jobseeker seeing photos of me in a bathing suit. I don’t want Jobboard Salesguy knowing how I spent my weekend.  And, I don’t want to receive creepy messages from random people like a recruiter friend of mine received today.

Now, when it comes to Twitter and LinkedIn, I have one account for the simple reason that I don’t use them to communicate with family and friends. I use Twitter as a tool to read news, participate in chats, research, and find out what’s going on locally. LinkedIn is my online Rolodex of professionals, and place to participate in HR discussions and manage my company’s group.

The majority of my friends are not on Twitter. My parents aren’t on LinkedIn.  It just doesn’t make sense – for me – to have a strictly personal presence on those sites.  However, having two Facebook accounts is sort of like having two email addresses: one for the work-me and one for me-me.  Ultimately, I think you have to do what makes sense for you, your family and your career.  And I’ll do what’s right by me.

Editor’s Note:  Shannon Smedstad is currently the human resources social media lead for a major U.S. auto insurer, and has more than 12 years of HR and recruiting experience. She made her FOT debut in the webinar Social Recruiting MacGyver Style and has been living in the lime light ever since. Outside of work, she’s a busy mom raising two awesome girls. She enjoys reading, yoga, traveling and her morning coffee. You can connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. (Views and opinions are her own, and not those of her company.)

FOT Background Check

Holland Dombeck McCue
Holland Dombeck McCue is the former the Editor turned blogger here at Fistful of Talent. She joined the group in August of 2011 and launched FOT's podcast, The CYA Report, and monthly webinar series. Now she gets to participate in all the HR/talent pundit fun. Check her out on Twitter via @Holland_Dombeck.


  1. Jason Seiden says:

    Thanks for the shout out, Holland! Nice to feel the love from my old FOT family!

  2. Simple HR says:

    The ‘Facebook being used to scout new employees’ debate is peppering loads of HR blogs but this is the first one that actually looks at it from a personal and professional perspective. Very refreshing!

    • shannon smedstad says:

      thanks, Simple HR. there are so many ways to use social media, but behind all the technology and latest applications are people. with real lives. who don’t want to share everything with everyone. just keepin’ it real …

  3. Rachael says:

    Actually I love that we are all appear to be so schizophrenic… I consider that am a good person in my professional life and actually also a good one in my private life. I am not sure why I need to become two people?

    What you don’t like about me privately you are probably not going to like about me publicly and frankly that’s better because then you know that the people I work for share my values and are also good people (and yes, good is a matter of perception, a perception I am going to let you manage, it isn’t something I am going to manage for you because that will eventually end in tears).

    • shannon smedstad says:

      @Rachael – I don’t think it’s a matter of being or not being a “good person.” I think it’s a matter of public vs. private. I wouldn’t necessarily care what other people thought of me, if viewing my personal page; I just wouldn’t want to share it with people that I don’t really know. And, maybe it’s the mom-in-me … but it’s also a matter of protecting my kids’ / family privacy online, too.

  4. Well what if you have 3 Facebook accounts? I have one for work which is great for connecting with the cleared facilities employers and the security cleared community. I have one that is for personal reasons, just like you and the third – well I didn’t know what I was doing. There I said it, I came out of the closet. I actually didn’t know what I was doing when I first came on social media and I set up an account that didn’t quite work out right.
    What did I learn? Sometimes, I need to try things out first on other profiles so that I can implement them correctly professionally. This is actually very liberating to have a personal FB and Twitter account that I can play around with before I launch into other mediums.
    Phew! Finally got that off my shoulders! Thanks Shannon!

  5. Chris Hoyt says:

    Learn to manage your privacy settings as opposed to multiple accounts.
    The idea of creating multiple profiles for aspects of your life is silly – and sadly recruiters are feeding this topic instead of helping to educate peers and jobseekers.

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