Two online personas vs. One!?

Mark Stencel (editor of the Governing magazine) left a comment, which I thought was worth publishing in it’s entirety in response to my earlier post on Professional Networking 101

Mario: I think maintaining two identities is a little difficult in this day and age, since relationships often transcend worlds — and in the end, you connect with your friends, professional and/or personal, whereever they happen to be. If you try to maintain a strictly professional profile on Facebook because your organization/employer has an institutional group there, do you “ignore” that old college buddy who wants to “friend” you there?

I always assume most online postings are widely accessible, and since I have ended up with a combination of social and professional connections on a variety of platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on), I try to maintain a somewhat professional demeanor everywhere — never getting much more personal in any public posting than I would on an elevator or in line at a coffee shop. I divert most personal communications to more private channels (Facebook messages or plain old e-mail) and turn off applications that invite trouble. For instance, I nuked the Wall from my Facebook profile after an old high school friend posted a reminiscence I’d just as soon not share with current colleagues.

LinkedIn’s somewhat more limited communication tools have helped make it a safer place for professional communication. And I say that as an enthusiast, not a critic. But I’d still be cautious about any questions or answers I posted there.

My ideal world: Facebook, LinkedIn and other services would provide a Plaxo-like way to distinguish between friends (professional, social, both) that would allow users to more easily present different faces to different people. That said, I’d still assume anything I posted can and will be used against me professionally.

My response to that:

There may be an varying level of overlap between your social and professional networks. In my case it ONLY includes individuals who are actually in both of my networks (social and professional). For e.g. The “work” friends I socialize with

And, that’s exactly the reason I don’t maintain a professional presence on Facebook since there are far greater opportunities to be social on FB. But that’s just me.

As for your 2nd point, I wholeheartedly agree it is important to establish a certain degree of propriety wherever you are on the web and that ties to my previous post on crafting, developing and maintaining your online brand. Cos, what you do on the Web stays on the Web – FOREVER!

And, thanks for you kind words on LinkedIn.

Readers. Agree/Disagree?

Sign up to receive Marketing Nirvana posts either in your RSS reader or Email Inbox (Subscribe now!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



  1. The Dilemma of “Two-Face”book Profiles « Marketing Nirvana

    […] many rave reviews of the upcoming Batman movie. But, jokes apart, in response to my earlier post on whether one should have 2 online social networking personas (social/professional) vs. just one, reader Alphonse Ha writes […]

  2. Mario Sundar

    I couldn’t help creating a new post to draw attention to your interesting dilemma Alphonse. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Alphonse Hà

    I have just graduated from college and I have been on Facebook for over 2 years now. When I was in college it didn’t really matter to me what pictures were tagged of me. However, now that I have a job in Marketing in a small placement Agency, I had to create another Facebook profile because I refused to use my personal Facebook profile for testing different recruiting methods on Facebook. This new profile is great because it allowed me to add over 100 people I knew (and counting) that I did not want on my personal profile because they are acquaintances and I did not want their updates to trump the updates of my friends I wanted to know about. However, having an empty profile (no tagged pictures or any other activity besides adding friends) is not beneficial to the recruiting I want to do. So I ended up having to spend time to develop that profile as well and I have to say that is quite time consuming.

    Moreover, I am now in a silly dilemna, there are a category of people that I know that I don’t know if I want them on my professional profile or on my personal profile and I must admit that it is quite a waste of brain space. I think that Mark’s idea of having one social networking website that allows different faces would be a great idea and I also agree that whatever is on the Internet stays on the Internet however the Internet is so large that certain things tends to get lost and that could be a good thing.

  4. My Philosophy of Social Media has changed « Marketing Nirvana

    […] Increased focus on reader comments: Yes, you’ll see posts that are offshoots of reader comments like this and the post you’re actually […]

Create a website or blog at