Facebook, Personal Profiles, and Business Accounts

facebook headquartersThis came up recently in the comments on my Social Media Policies for Staff post, so thought I’d discuss it further. Please add your thoughts!

Here’s the issue: some people and organizations want very much to keep their personal profiles very separate from work stuff – that’s understandable. But to do that, they have created multiple accounts. Individuals create their normal personal profile, and then they also create a separate “worker dude” profile that they only use for official work-related business. Sorta like most of us have separate work and personal email accounts.

I know of at least one library that takes this a bit further, and creates “work-only” profiles for staff to use to administer their organization’s Facebook Page. Their thinking is that the organization owns the profiles, since the organization created them … so they’re not connected to an individual, and therefore ok.

Here’s the problem with that – Facebook really only acknowledges two types of accounts – personal profiles and organizational Pages. Period.

Facebook does allow something they call a “Business account.” What’s that? Here’s what Facebook says about them:

What is the difference between a business account and a user profile?
Business accounts are designed for individuals who only want to use the site to administer Pages and their ad campaigns. For this reason, business accounts do not have the same functionality as personal accounts. Business accounts have limited access to information on the site. An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Social Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer. In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests.

So a “business account” is really no more than a very limited-access personal profile for individuals that only want to use it to manage a Page. And even those have to be set up by individuals (not organizations).

Facebook spells that out even further here:

If I already have a user profile, can I create a business account?
Maintaining multiple accounts, regardless of the purpose, is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. If you already have a personal account, then we cannot allow you to create business accounts for any reason. You can manage all the Pages and Socials Ads that you create on your personal account.

Where am I going with this? Just this – I know lots of organizations either already have or are wanting to create a Facebook presence. And I know some organizations and some individuals who are very leery of “showing themselves” on Facebook – using their personal profiles for work AND for personal stuff.

But here’s the rub – Facebook’s Terms of Service really only gives you two options – use your personal account for work, or don’t use Facebook. That third option – creating a fake “work-only” profile? Works great … until you get caught. Then your profile, and potentially your organization’s Page, might get deleted.


pic by researchgirl

This Week in Libraries: Video Killed the Blog Star

TWIL #27: Video Killed the Blog Star from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

During Internet Librarian 2010, Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap van de Geer did a live recording of their This Week in Libraries video show as a panel … that I was part of.

So – check out the video above. It’s a double whammy – it’s the TWIL show, and it’s also the panel session I was part of about making video for libraries.


Social Media Policies for Staff

We don’t really have a social media policy for staff (and I hope we never have one). We generally encourage staff to experiment with social media on-the-job, use their personal accounts to share what the library is doing (when appropriate), and “be the library” when they’re out and about – be that physically or digitally.

Other libraries do create social media policies. I get that – every library has different needs. But sometimes, weird things pop up in them, usually because the policy was written without thinking through how the technology actually works.

For example, take Tulsa City-County Library’s Social media Technology policy for staff (seen via an email):

“Social media technology is another mechanism to transact business and provide information/services within the library. The use of social media technology and similar tools (such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, instant messaging and wikis) and the posting of electronic content on behalf of the library shall be professional and reflect the appropriate behavior as expected of a library employee.

All proposals for library service use of social media technology must be submitted through the library’s New Technology Committee and must be pre-approved by the requestor’s supervisor.

Employees must be authorized to create or post content on library social media accounts.

Employees may not use their personal social network accounts for library use. Institutional accounts must be created to provide information/services for the organization.

Employees may choose to express themselves by posting personal information on Web sites, blogs, other social networking sites or chat rooms on the employee’s own time. The library values creativity and honors personal expression. However, an employee should demonstrate care if personal postings include the library’s name or other identifying information that leads others to conclude that the poster is associated with the library. Employees should not represent their statements in an online social networking community as reflective of official library policy or position. Any posting that violates the library’s rights or the rights of other employees (inappropriate, offensive, harmful or threatening) may cause both disciplinary action in the workplace as well as legal action.”

Generally speaking, it’s a pretty normal policy. But check out the part I put in bold again. Then think about how Facebook works.

See the problem?

The library is telling employees that “Institutional accounts must be created to provide information/services for the organization.” OK. What’s the problem, David?

Guess what Facebook says about that? From their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities – “You will not create more than one personal profile.”

Basically (and I’m guessing the library really doesn’t know they’re asking this), the library is requiring their employees to break Facebook’s Terms of Service (assuming those library employees already have a personal Facebook account).


I’m not really picking on Tulsa – I’ll bet they swiped that language from any number of other “social media policies” for employees. But if we really, truly want to look professional … at the least, I’m guessing we shouldn’t ask our employees to do something that will technically get their personal accounts deleted. Right?

What about your library? Do you have social media policies for staff? If so, how does it read? What are you asking your staff to do?

Your slides aren’t the presentation

I sometimes see/hear a presenter who, though they probably don’t realize this, ends up talking in outline form. They’re looking at their outline that’s up on the screen, and they don’t even read the whole screen – instead, they summarize the words of their outlined slide … and end up sounding like a rough-draft outline of their presentation.

Remember this – your presentation is not the slides. And believe me – I spend a lot of time on my slides, to make them as attractive as possible, sometimes to make them funny, and always to have them relate to what I want to say. I DO think slides are important – they work great at conveying information visually.

But I have also realized that the actual presentation is me – it’s the words I say. Even if I’m summarizing something on the screen – I still need to speak clearly, in complete sentences, with a good explanation. A story that summarizes what’s on the screen is even better.

Just something to think about if you present.

FYI – Interesting Sounding Grant

Someone from the Knight Foundation emailed me, and I thought it sounded relevant enough to pass on to you – here’s the gist of it:

If you have an innovative media technology idea, you might be able to get funding from the Knight News Challenge contest.
Run by the Knight Foundation, the grant competition awards up to $5 million annually for innovative projects that use digital technology to transform the way communities send, receive and make use of news and information.
More info can be found here: http://newschallenge.org. The site includes application information, as well as details about past winners.
This year’s application deadline is December 1. The News Challenge is looking for applications in four categories: mobile, authenticity, sustainability and community.  All projects must make use of digital technology to distribute news in the public interest.
The contest is open to anyone in the world.
A simple description of the project is all you need to apply. Submit a brief pitch to http://newschallenge.org. If the reviewers like it, you’ll be asked to submit a full proposal later.
If you have questions you can a) reference the FAQ: http://www.newschallenge.org/frequently-asked-questions, or; b) check the archived chat transcript here: http://www.newschallenge.org/1026-live (another live chat will be held on November 18 at 1:30 EST).
You can follow Knight Foundation at http://twitter.com/knightfdn. The News Challenge Twitter hashtag is #knc