Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Facebook, LinkedIn, Business vs. Personal

I've been working on a new program, Venture Well (LINK) and in this process have created a Facebook page for this activity. What I'm beginning to observe is how differently people make use of Facebook.

In Facebook, pages can now be created for businesses, organizations, activities, events etc. in contrast to standard personal Facebook pages for individuals. You can sign up to the Venture Well Facebook page (LINK) and by doing so get updates and information about the program. If you sign up (by becoming a fan) you don't need to "friend" me. What this allows is for people to restrict their personal Facebook pages to their personal network, but still use their Facebook identity to sign up to more work oriented pages, like Venture Well.

As I've attempted to "friend" people who have signed up for Venture Well it's clear that for some people, even if they know me in a business context, their Facebook personal page is still a place for their social friends alone. For others--and this is probably true of younger and more tech-oriented people--there is simply no distinction between personal and work. It's all part of a consistent and fluid brand. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow the user to moderate this distinction. It would be great if you could simply tag friends as "personal" and as "professional" or some similar distinctions and make a distinction also in the items you post to your personal Facebook page between your personal and professional networks, so that your profile could be nuanced depending upon the observer.

Some people use LinkedIn for their professional life and Facebook for their personal life. But although I've also created a LinkedIn group for Venture Well (LINK), the functionality of a LinkedIn group is so much less than a Facebook page (or group) that for the most part, we'll make use of Facebook until LinkedIn increases the level of its offering.
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