Respecting Boundaries in Social Media 4

Everything in one place makes no sense.

For a time in late 2009 to early 2010, I began to notice a rather odd trend. Individuals began to post articles about the so-called “death of privacy” as if that were A) true, and B) a good thing. Lots of people, often people with businesses, are constantly interchanging the personal sphere and the public sphere for one another. While I’ll agree that organizations are generally default-public, does that really mean that individuals should be? Or ever will be?

Think for a moment–how often do you post everything in both your public and private lives to Facebook? I personally have defaulted to private, virtually no business going on there. It’s just too …weird. Others may not have that problem. But for me, I don’t need people pitching me while I’m trying to keep up with family and others from my personal life. So if you’re one of those social media consultants telling people to mix it all up and hope for the best–please stop.

Not only does Facebook allow people to create a page for their organization, or even a group, but facebook accounts themselves are supposed to be for individuals from the beginning. So you may want to consider that eventually, you’re going to be faced with a choice: do you really want your professional and private life all mixed together like a caesar salad? And if not, why would anyone else want that? Or the results of doing so?

Reasons not to mix biz too thoroughly with personal:

1) your family/friends politics and those of your clients don’t mix
2) your biz circle offends your personal circle or vice-versa
3) your professional persona is a jerk (and maybe you just don’t realize it yet)
4) your personal life is going in a different direction from your professional one
5) confusing personal and business most often confuses people in both circles about which “you” you “really” are


Mark BrimmMark Brimm is Founder and Editor-in-Chief at and is author of AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords and other previous related books on search marketing. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on social media strategy.

Mark consults on SEO & SEM, general web marketing and social media at Interface Communications Group where he is Partner and Director of Digital Marketing. Some of his specialties include SEO (search engine optimization), social media optimization (SMO), as well as PR campaign concepts, marketing plans and general web marketing related project management. Mark is married and currently resides in Houston, TX.

About Mark Brimm

Mark Brimm is President of, the Founder of, and runs a personal blog on social media, marketing and entrepreneurship at He also runs a blog on SEO & SEM at

  • Joseph

    I’m struggling with this myself right now, and finding Facebook a bad place to mix business with pleasure. I think you’re right, pages and groups are about as Facebook as I can afford my non-B2C biz to be.

    • Thanks for the comment, Joseph. I wish you well with your business endevours on FB. FB advertising is also a rising force for many businesses.

  • This is such an important point to make.

    Commerce is the one field of human activity where everyone – regardless of political opinions, religious beliefs, or other orientation – can interact with one another productively.

    I’m unsure if there’s a “correct” way to balance how much you reveal about yourself in what contexts online. But it’s always sensible to keep in mind.

    • While I don’t give a correct way, here’s what I have witnessed thus far on Facebook since joining almost a year back: nobody seems to know where to draw the lines, everyone in biz for themselves seems to be stepping on their own initiatives and people don’t seem to notice that they lose interest in either one or the other side of their lives. Usually some corner gets all the attention and honor. SO I keep biz mainly out of my FB timeline. And I’m still dissatisfied with it because of the feeling of being limited. I suspect most people are.