To combat what I feel is a growing problem on Facebook, I’m experimenting in a big way with my strategy.
I believe Facebook at its core is a personal tool, not a business one. Like many of you, I joined to connect with personal friends back before it was really the hot marketing play in our industry. I have been watching the company since it was a startup and early on I liked to play with it when it was open just to university students (admittedly I would get in under my brothers account just to understand it.) Today there is so much business talk on facebook I feel its squashing my personal space. I cant help but wonder if potential customers are getting turned off feeling the same way.
As one who likes to share auto industry information this has created somewhat of a personal dilemma. Half of my facebook friends are personal friends from home, people I went to school with or soccer mates who I played ball with for years. These people care about me, but not necessarily about the car business. The other half are people I know from our industry, or people I am just meeting through facebook that are in our industry. Im happy to share details of my personal life, such as kids birthdays, vacations and the like with everyone. Im a fairly open person and I think this allows people to have a glimpse into the full picture who I am, not just what they see or hear from me at conventions and such.
The problem is that as I am increasingly active in auto industry conversations and as I share more and more auto industry specific information on facebook, my personal friends are bombarded with info they don’t need or want. That could, in some peoples mind qualify me as a “spammer” in the social sense, and frankly I don’t want to be “one of those.”
Thus the dilemma…
There are two different sides of my life that collide on my facebook page and my friends caught in the middle. In other words, I don’t want to be a major contributor to the non-relevant business talk that is squashes my friends’ personal space. In fact, I usually find myself not participating from an industry perspective like I would want to just to protect my non-industry friends from a disproportionate amount of automotive banter.
My solution isn’t exactly pretty; I created a second facebook profile event though it’s against what facebook wants. There is “Jared Hamilton” the family man/entrepreneur that is in the car business and now there is “Jared at DrivingSales” the car business 3rd gen. dealer advocate/entrepreneur who is also a devout family man. Its not that I won’t share car business stuff out of my first account, or that I wont share family stuff out of my Jared at DrivingSales account, its just that now there are two profiles to match the two main roles I play in life.
I know what you are thinking, “This is exactly what facebook lists are for.” That’s true, but Ive opted not to go that route mostly because I think I want more separation between these two roles that I play than just grouping things according to lists. It may be out of fear of not understanding facebooks privacy settings. (ive got a good grip on it but it changes so often its hard to trust or keep up with.) Or It may be I think it’s a pain in the butt to use the complex settings correctly. Either way, I just feel more comfortable with two profiles.
So, through the foreseeable future I’m going to maintain two facebook profiles as somewhat of an experiment. I want to see if it helps me be a better friend to both my automotive friends, by being more active in sharing and participating in automotive content, and to my personal friends, by not bombarding them with automotive content. Perhaps this separation will be better for everyone, perhaps it wont. There is also a third option: facebook could boot me off for not following their guidelines… I guess we will have to wait and see.