To Friend or Not to Friend: Family & Professional Facebook Pages


As soon as I read this first word of the text from my sister I knew I had to raise my shields.

“Your own Facebook page with 260 friends? With mutual friends? And not ONE of your family? That is really f*#@ed up!”


OK, let’s have one of those back in time moments like on TV when the screen starts to get wavy and the narrating character’s voice starts to get that echo effect and I’ll drop a little history on you viewers at home.


There is a Sullivan Family Facebook page where all our family and friends can read the latest adventures of our daughters ongoing potty training and people can look at pictures of things we may never even look at again ourselves and leave comments such as “I love this” and my favorite, the simple “Awe, CUTE!”.


Then there is the Ty Sullivan Facebook page where I gather all my social media and business friends to share in like ideas and subscribe to my groups and items of interest that would otherwise have my Sullivan Family followers racing for the exits like the audience at an Adam Sandler film.


So, the question came to mind, is it me? Have I committed a heinous social/social media faux pas?  Is it alright to not invite family and friends to a Facebook page you created for “another purpose” sans the evil intent of a Senator having somewhere to post “hottie shots’ of himself?


I opened the question up to the #UsGuys Twitter morning coffee gang and got answers ranging from the hilarious, “Separation of Church and State” (thanks Barry Peters) to the “Oh Hell to the NO” response like “I don’t even friend my family on my regular page!” (You tell them Brandie McCallum). But in the end it was a clean draw on the responses. Half said it was OK, half said heck no.  There was only one way to solve this.

 It was time to turn to the Jedi of Social Media manners to restore order to the galaxy.

To call upon the Emily Post of new media.

It was time to summon the Divine Diva of etiquette, Dabney Porte who runs Twitters #SMMANNERS chat.


Dabney stated that there was no harm in mixing the two worlds for are we not the same people on both Facebook pages? She made a good point of saying its OK to let those that know you in the social media realm see you in your day to day life. It enhances the human factor that sometimes is hard to get a handle on in a medium where there are some that are not who they claim to be. It adds leverage to your authenticity factor. People like to see the other side of the person who may just post “statistical articles” or “just the facts” blogs.


Dabney does a heroic job merging all her chats, Facebook pages and her website Social Media Girl Friend and she does this freely because she wants everybody to share in what she is doing. She wears it all on her sleeve as do I.  I am open, authentic, and have nothing to hide. You want to know me? Look on my blogs, Facebook and Tweets, and there I am. If you don’t see what you want to know? Ask me.


But as for merging the Facebook pages? I guess it all comes down to a personal choice. But what say you fair reader? What do you think?


Inquiring minds want to know!

And Dabney….And me….and the guy reading your iPad over your shoulder…And so on and so on…


You can follow Dabney Porte on Twitter @DabneyPorte

Barry Peters on Twitter @barrypeters

Brandie McCallum on Twitter @lttlewys and @SenseiMarketing



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Comment by Matt Saunders on December 9, 2011 at 10:05pm

I know exactly how you feel about this! I actually wound up just taking my personal Facebook down and only using Fan Pages and Twitter. For me personally,my family and I have pretty different political views and that would lead to stomach wrenching arguments on my threads between friends/colleagues and my family... It's a tough spot to be in.

Comment by Steven Groves on November 16, 2011 at 1:48pm

Too funny... did I read it right?  Your sibling berated you for somehow not specifically inviting her to a message stream on a Business Page on Facebook?  To be sure, there are evolving protocols for means of online social interactions, but that one is interesting. 

Why did she berate you to begin with?  Have you created a Like-gate page that she might have had to click Like before she could see the posts?  Just let her know she is welcome to opt-in to the page posts.  That being said however, if she is not one of the targeted audience, let her know she could just as easily opt-out of all that business-y stuff later.

Was she commenting that she thinks your even having a Business Page was high-brow and 'above your class'?  You run an online business!  Let her know that she, and the rest of the family too, can have one of the free-to-open, high-faluting Facebook Business Pages if they want - maybe offer to set one up for them.

Your buddy's at #UsGuys were apparently only 1/2 right (no matter what I say eh?) as there was no real consensus.  The Ms. Manners of Social Media was pretty much spot on though - people buy, and work, with other real people - if you want your business and personal connected on Facebook, you have every right.  Go right ahead.

Merge & mix the content though? I dunno; unless you're really mindful in selecting the proper posting List in Facebook, you'll end up talking the same message to everyone you know (same on G+ BTW) - and that's not who you are.  You're a Dad & Brother, but you're also a business person who talks about stuff your family might find boring; although they can always opt-in.  If you're posting top your biz page though, you will not have to concern yourself as to whether or not Sis REAlly wanted to get that post.  If she opted-in, she has expressed her consent and apprently did want to find out about tweeting & social for the food service industry.

My vote?  I would not merge them. 

Keep up the good work and post away Amigo!




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