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Can You Mix Work and Pleasure in Social Media?

Can You Mix Work and Pleasure in Social Media?

There is a debate in social media and I would like to know where you draw the line.

Should you be all business, or mix it up?

Anyone who follows my twitter stream will know outside my blog(s) I am far from all business. Just in last couple of days my tweeple and I discussed:

  • Which was the worst Transformer (answer: Arcee – it was pink!).
  • How you define “Eastern Canada” (answer: depends where you live, and if you mean geographically or politically).
  • Where to buy T-Shirts (answer: depends how geeky you want to look).
  • Which was followed by a discussion with Chris Brogan about dress code (answer: pants are pretty important).
  • and the geekiness that is my desk (video).

But we also discussed my first business blogging article for WordTracker and a web conference to raise money for charity.

While on my main blog I do talk about things outside of the main focus, I always bring the topic back to web related issues. I am interested in all kinds of things so rather than bunch it all together I have several websites, in particular a personal blog, but I do not really want to have more than one Twitter account.

People have commented that they followed me for blogging stuff – could I be losing people due to these “off-topic” conversations? I am hardly sticking to the 80-20% rule on Twitter, unless the 20% rule is the business stuff!

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Could there be a case for more people having “work” and “personal” social media accounts? I can see more corporate type social accounts such as @richardatdell requiring it – what happens when Richard is no longer atDell?

Have you got social media accounts that are all business? Do you prefer to follow people who stick to one topic?

View Comments (13)
  • Chris

    To separate work and pleasure is, to employ a cliche, so yesterday. Most of us – who have the flexibility and freedom to use Twitter or other ‘social media’ tools at work – work long hours not because we have to but because we love to. Work is pleasure for us.

    So yes, discussions about whether Valentine’s Day is an old con job or whether Apple should buy Skype both belong in this space. As do discussions re blogging and where to buy t-shirts.

  • Hi Chris,

    People have been telling me to be careful about mixing business with pleasure e.g. having both friends and clients as FB friends –

    Social media is after all social, i think social media is about collaboration and conversation, which means, trying to be two different people one for business, one for pleasure would defeat the object-

    We are all human, we all like to enjoy ourselves as well as work, if everybody can understand and accept that then there shouldn’t be a a problem-

    Obviously you act different when your dealing with work versus pleasure, but i think, and hope the days of living segregated, compartmentalized lives just for the sake of keeping business and pleasure apart- are over!

  • I have thought about the personal and business social media account, but have gone against it in the end. I think it’s more fun to mix up the two actually, and it shows you as a more open person and more friendly. People know what you like and know what you do – sort of like – dare I say it – having friends in the real world!!!

  • That depends on what the “personal” part is. If I wouldn’t discuss/share it when physically in the office, it’s not going to be shared/discussed on FB/Twitter/etc…

    I think it also depends on what your role is in the business. If you’re a spokesperson for an organization, you probably want to be more careful about separating your “lives”, while if your role is primarily internal-facing then I think you have a lot more leeway to mix the two.


  • I think problogger has the perfect combination of both: he writes so much useful stuff and mixes personal things in it. That is a twitterer we could model. I personally think there just HAVE to be personal tweets. After all this is some kind of ‘what you’re doing right now’ network which most of us use also for business. So if someone isn’t fine with my personal tweets and unfollows me that just means he doesn’t like my person in some way and possibly won’t even get the whole value of my blog posts which are written by me. So be personal, be humorous, be business. As long as your tweets provide some value there shouldn’t be a problem, even if you tweet to often about personal things.

  • My opinion: It really depends on how personal you get. Casual is good, friendly is good, private stuff is not. I like to follow people who share interesting stuff about their life, but not the gorry details of their infant’s bathroom habits, their fights with their in-laws, or daily accounting of calories consumed! Personal makes it real. Private makes me squeemish.

    Too much information is not personal, it’s uncomfortable.

    All business is really, really boring.

  • I was told a story last week about a sales person that only worked two days a week, and never adhered to the cliche “never mix business with pleasure” however always surpassed his targets which were always upped each time. He used to entertain his clients (wine, dine etc) and they bought off of him quite happily.

    Whilst I am not suggesting people should rush out and wine and dine (especially during this economic period) there should always be time to mix a bit of pleasure; in this case pleasure should be read as taking time to establish relationships. There is an obvious balance that needs to be struck (some people are not as disciplined as others, in terms of what they may broadcast and amount of time spent) but I believe and have found that Twitter etc have enabled me to connect with other people.

    Furthermore, regards going off topic, as long as it returns back at some point, then that enables any user to develop a more rounded impression of you.

    In essence the objective should be that “business becomes pleasurable”.

  • Depends.

    A personal account can (and should, IMHO) be a mix. It’s you, the person, and your followers are connecting with you.

    But an official business account should not have any pleasure in it. In this case, the account serves as an official (if informal) channel of communication between the business and the users.

    Of course relationships grow between the people running the account and the users and that’s great, but the conversation should be taken to a more private forum like DM or email which allows the relationship to grow more.

  • I think it depends (isn’t that the case with everything in life). By that I mean it depends what you choose to share.

    I follow you on Twitter and really enjoy the mix of stuff you post – but I’ve stopped following other people because of the personal stuff they share (for example, one person wrote several times about shaving hard skin off his feet …eeeew! … and another sent angry political diatribes that just annoyed me).

    As someone whose job it is to help others find work, I also worry about people sharing too much personal stuff online – everything we say on social networking sites is there forever and I think a lot of people forget that.

    But, if you don’t share something of yourself, it’s really not social media.

    So I guess my own guidelines are “share personal stuff but not too personal, don’t say things that are politically controversial, and try to stay away from the icky!”

  • I get really annoyed when I find that some individual or company with whom I have no connection is following me on Twitter (and presumably would like me to follow them) purely to promote their business. I have had estate agents (sorry, realtors – they’re mostly in the US) and others using Twitter in ways that are calculated to put me off. I always block them.

    Having got that off my chest, I particularly like two things on Twitter: useful links; and some sense of the personality of the person tweeting (although I really don’t want to know about shaving hard skin off feet). Chris, you have a nice balance and I enjoy your tweets. Facebook is almost entirely personal for me, but Twitter is a good place to balance business and pleasure.

  • I have too many interests to try to keep them all separate – there’s my full-time job as Director of Technical Committee Administration (open standards); there’s my long-standing interest (and past career) in tech doc/tech writing/eLearning; there’s the restaurant (King’s Corner Cafe) that my husband and I own; there’s my desire to help local businesses get involved with social media to grow their business (we’re in a tourist town and need to attract regionally); and there’s my knitting exploits and my fiber art … they are all interwoven into who I am. The list of people I follow is as eclectic as I am. I can no longer maintain separate ‘personalities’, nor do I want to.

  • I definetly think you can mix work and pleasure. I do it all the time. I really don’t separate it. It’s the only way to manage life. If you don’t love your work why bother showing up? If you love your work it will be your pleasure to be there and likewise your pleasure should be your life’s work.

  • If I’m reading “Dunkin Donuts” I may expect t to be all Donuts, all the time. On the other hand, I understand that @zappos IS Tony H and Tony H is Zappos.

    If you’re a person who happens to run a business, I expect to see some of both. If you’re twittering or blogging _for_ a business and being paid by a :arge Impersonal Corporation, I expect the business account to be all business all the time… and yu should get a persnal account for off hours.

    In the case of you Chris or Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, Tim O’Reilly, I expect to be reading a person who is also an entrepreneur. I expect a mix.

    Unfortunately, it’s often not enough to consider what we (readers commenting here) expect. Colleen Graffy, for example, had gotten sme very mixed reviews on her twittering. Some like the personal touch, others disparage it, and your name ends up in the news.

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