Class Blogs

To Post or Not to Post: Personal vs. Professional Use of Social Media

When I read the list of assignments for my Social Media Tools in Community Partnership Practice class, my initial thought was “how in the heck am I supposed to write a blog on personal vs. professional use of social media”.  You would think a subject such as this would come easy to me considering the fact that I am an administrator for 3 different organization’s Facebook page, a Twitter page, and a Youtube page.  Not only do I manage professional accounts, but I also have my own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts in which I follow or like different companies and organizations to stay abreast on their businesses.  I am not boasting about being a social media junkie at all, but what I can say is that I keep mental notes of what these companies and organizations do (and don’t do) and apply them to the accounts I manage. Therefore, the rest of this blog will consist of those “notes” and hopefully help you manage the difference between your personal and professional social media accounts.

The #1 thing you should keep in mind as an administrator for a professional social media account is there is a consequence for EVERY action, especially when representing an organization. Being allowed to have autonomy when acting as my department online is both a blessing and a curse.  There are many times when I, acting as my organization of course, will post a status update or tweet and receive dozens of likes, retweets, Mentions, and/or positive comments.  There are also numerous times when I can post on the page and receive backlash because someone does not agree with or is against what I am posting.  In class, we discussed the term “trolling” which is in a nutshell seeking to cause an uproar or “fame” for purposely directing negativity towards an organization via internet.  Now, of course, if this were my own personal page I could reply to that someone in a very demeaning manner which would keep that someone from commenting on my page forever as I normally do.  In this case, I suck it up and take it with a grain of salt.  What you must understand is as an organization/company, you WILL NOT please everyone. That’s impossible!  Many times you will piss a lot of people off.  The key to successfully managing an organization’s social media account PROFESSIONALLY is remembering that the professional account is not yours and when posting you should always think about the consequences for each post.

I will leave the following tips with you in hopes that you, my very first reader, are one step closer to mastering both your personal and professional social media.

  1. ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE with your fans/followers/friends…as the organization.  Do not express your personal opinions as you are representing the organization as a WHOLE.
  2. Be professional on the professional accounts! (I know this is obvious, but for some reason, people are still getting this wrong.
  3. To piggy back off of tip #1, it’s ok to share your opinions and personal life on your personal social media. HOWEVER, don’t act in a manner that could negatively affect your organization in any way, form, or fashion.  Privacy doesn’t exist on the internet. ANYTHING can be found. I say this because as a Sports Admin graduate student, I am always checking on sports news.  One huge issue with athletes, and sometimes coaches, officials, owners, etc., is their inability to think before they speak.  I cannot stress this enough, please keep in mind how your words and actions can affect the organization you’re representing. 
  4. Do NOT link your professional account to your personal account and vice versa. Pretty self-explanatory.
  5. Use your time as an administrator to learn from your consumers.  They are your best source to knowing what is going on with your company.  Learning from your consumers can in turn help you learn how to have a better social life.  This may sound strange, but learning to listen to your consumers via social media can help you pay more attention to how you interact with your friends and peers. 


Thank you for reading my very first blog. It was actually a very enlightening experience. I welcome any and all constructive criticism, keyword constructive. This is only the beginning of my journey and I’m looking forward to sharing much more.


One thought on “To Post or Not to Post: Personal vs. Professional Use of Social Media

  1. Kiarra,

    You have so much experience and it is great to share it in your post. I suspect that you might be using more than “notes” when you evaluate whether or not to post something for the organization’s social media campaigns. If there were not formal social media policies in those organizations, there have been conversations where you have gotten a good sense about what is appropriate and what isn’t. How did you come to those boundaries? That would be an interesting topic to explore.

    Just a couple of content responses: When you are facing a true “troll” you don’t want to encourage them, whether personal or professional content. And you lost me a little on the not pleasing everyone and pissing people off. The goal of a social media campaign for an organization is to engage – you are absolutely correct. That means you aren’t always upset when people don’t agree. It’s rather about how you handle their response.

    I am not sure what mixing your personal and professional accounts means. With Facebook, for instance, your friends feed your professional pages? It’s not quite that simple. And you also talk about using personal experience in your social media posts. Your last paragraph is absolutely right on the money!

    In terms of other aspects of the post, links to other opinions is always a good thing. The way we build credibility is by what we do (which you appropriately shared with us) but also by the company we keep. And it breaks up the text and information only from the author.

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