The worlds of our personal and professional lives are set on a collision course more strongly now than ever before, with the update to Facebook’s profile last night. Up front and center when you go to someone’s page is a short bio announcing to the world where you work, where you studied, where you live, who you’re in a relationship with, and when you were born. Even if you haven’t yet upgraded your profile to the new version, those individuals who have can see your new profile.
As you know, this matters simply because to have a business fan page, we have to have a personal page (if you aren’t then it’s time to review the Facebook rules and regulations which say you cannot have more than one personal profile on Facebook). And once we’ve got that personal page, friend requests start pouring in and we must either ignore them or accept them, and most of us accept them. So on Facebook, we are inevitably managing both a Fan page and a personal page.
So this is a great moment to consider how your personal and professional lives intertwine on Facebook, and to adjust your settings accordingly.
- First, unless your privacy settings are set to “Friends Only” for everything, don’t display the year of your birth. While many of us don’t mind our friends knowing exactly how old we are, we are trying to manage our professional profiles as well. Often we’re either too young or too old to be “credible” in the professional world. Displaying the year of your birth allows people to confirm what they suspected, you are too young or too old to have the job you have. To change this, go to the “Basic” tab on your profile.
- Second, if your profile is listing a company, take the time to go back in and make sure that it’s referencing company’s actual Facebook Page, especially if it’s YOUR company. You can tell if it is by going to the “Education and Work.” If it’s linked to a real page, you’ll see the thumbnail for the company page. If it’s not, you’ll see a blue shadow thumbnail. If you see this, simply delete the professional profile you have and add it again, this time searching for your business’ Facebook page.
- Third, look at the pictures displaying–are you OK with the ones that are being featured? If not, just hover over the images and click the “X” that appears in the top right corner. That will remove it from display there, but will allow it to continue to be displayed in the photos section of your Facebook profile.
- Fourth, look at the information proudly displayed in your profile with a critical eye. Does it represent you in a way that is professionally acceptable, while still being personally revealing? If not, it’s time to tidy up the information displayed there. Go to “Edit Profile” and take the time to go through each tab, making sure you’re comfortable with all the information being displayed there.
- Finally, it’s probably time to refresh your Privacy Settings. Personally, I keep mine set at “Friends Only.” The reason is that I’m pretty picky when it comes to who my friends on Facebook are. But not all of my friends are as picky, and accept friendship requests from almost anyone who asks. With a “Friends Only” setting, I know whatever I choose to share on Facebook stays with my friends. If I want to share something publicly, I have a Twitter account, and everyone is welcome to follow me there.
Nothing about the changes on Facebook last night actually make changing your Facebook profile any more important than they were yesterday. However, since that information is now a focus every time someone goes to your page, it’s time to do the housekeeping we should have done, to keep ourselves safe and to better manage our personal and professional profiles and to make sure we’re comfortable with the intersection of those two worlds.