My So-Called (Double) Life… On Facebook

Holland Dombeck McCue Social Media, Social Media and Talent, Social Network Analysis

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.)