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As I was looking up the other posts to share with you this week, I found this one on social networking.  I thought it might be useful for those of you inspired to start scheduling interactions with readers and fans.

I’ve been thinking since my last post about my Facebook account and other social networking.  I have quite a few Facebook relationships with birth activists, doulas, childbirth educators, midwives and the like.  Some of them, in my opinion, handle the strange linking of business and pleasure well.  Others seem to struggle.

I’ve had friends who receive not so friendly messages and posts from other Facebook friends who either disagree with statements or links, or simply do not appreciate the frequent reminders that natural birth is best.  When this happens, if you are lucky, you are ignored – but usually you simply become an un-friend.

Another common problem is the mixing of friends, family and clients.  When clients become Facebook friends they can see all your status updates, they see everything your sister and friends write on your wall.  They comment on the picture of the dress you are thinking about buying.  It can be a little to close for comfort.

I’ve seen some wonderful ways to prevent this, and one of them may be helpful for you.

One method to avoid losing real life friends or those coveted long lost connections is to have two Facebook profiles.  One profile should have your name and be you personally.  This profile lets your friends know you saw the latest movie, your child has a solo in the school choir or your dog really needs a bath.  The second profile is your name and title, Jane Doe Birth Doula.  This profile is where you friend clients and others who are interested in the articles you share.  This method works if you have more than one email address and can keep track of which account you are using when you hit the share button.

Another method is to have a personal profile and then start a group or a fan page for your business.  Groups and fan pages are slightly different.  For example, fan pages allow your posts to show up on your fan newsfeeds, groups do not.  Both allow you the freedom to share links, host discussions and accept posts on your wall.

But what if you, like me, have already mixed business and pleasure?  Sort through your Facebook friends placing them in appropriate groups. Don’t worry, friends can be part of more than one group.  Then, when you want to share a post or a link, customize who can see it so that only those members of certain groups see it on their newsfeed or on your page.  Your privacy settings will also allow you to set who can or cannot see photos you post and photos of you.

Hope these tips help keep your Facebook relationships flourishing!

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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