As many of you know, I have been using the Facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/JessicaJones9828 since about 2007. It’s technically classified with Facebook as a private account, meaning it isn’t meant for public use. When I opened the account, I had been using MySpace for a long time and had several thousand people reading my blog over there. I never expected Facebook to take over as the world’s primary social networking website. So opening my Facebook account was me having the intent to keep up with my friends and family away from the chaos of thousands of blog readers because they were, frankly, getting lost in the shuffle.
Then more people started coming to Facebook.
Followed my more people.
And yet still more came.
Before I knew it, there were 5,000 people on my Facebook because MySpace just wasn’t cool anymore. The quieter place I built became overrun in just a year because I don’t like turning people away whether I know them or not. And the tricky part of Facebook is that they limit the number of friends you can have on private accounts. It’s capped at 5,000 and that also includes not only accepting friend requests but clicking “like” on public pages too. So now I’m having to do the very thing I hate the most – turning people away. I’m also missing things being posted by people I actually know in my everyday life. Everything on my account is public. Nothing is for me anymore. Granted, I did this to myself by allowing my private account to be filled with people I don’t know, but in my defense, I did it because social networking is extremely important to website owners and independent authors. It’s business.
However, there is a more correct way to social network as a public figure and that is through having a public “fan” page (mine is at http://www.facebook.com/JessicaJewettOnline) and keeping your actual family and friends private. Everybody with a public figure page does it this way. I just wish I would have known from the beginning so I wouldn’t have to fuss with switching now! The advantages to this are that there are no limits on numbers with public pages. People could click “like” by the millions if they choose and the owner won’t get capped. I would have built my public page from the beginning if I knew people were going to read my books, read my blogs, and book readings with me as much as they do. That way I wouldn’t be faced with the hassle right now of trying to shift everyone from my private account to my public page. Only about 1/5 of people have shifted since I started and that’s a little frustrating. I’m having to send a message to each individual person asking them to shift to the public page. It’s taking forever for me to reorganize this whole thing.
Everything was going fine until yesterday. People have been shifting to the public page with no problem. Those who choose not to go probably aren’t that interested in me anyway, which is totally fine. The thing is I got a less-than-polite message from someone who called what I’m doing “a slap in the face”. I was a little stunned and dumbstruck by that because (to my knowledge) I’ve never met the person and I don’t recall very much meaningful interaction. I could be wrong, of course. That’s the pain about the whole thing. Some people have no concept of how many people I deal with on a daily basis. Emails, messages, texts, phone calls, etc. Sometimes I don’t remember names, so I told the person if I was wrong about actually knowing her, then I would re-add her. The followup message wasn’t so nice either.
I found it to be a bit of an overreaction – so much so that I had to come to my blog to explain why I’m switching to a public page and a private account. Why was it an overreaction? I’m not just deleting people without warning like others might do. I’m simply asking people to shift pages so I can redefine my personal boundaries. Since I’m not a huge public figure, I think some might not quite understand. However, I am an author, an artist and an intuitive with a website, I do regular interviews, etc., and I’m making my living by putting myself out there as a small brand. Technically it is defined that way. As I publish more books and raise my profile as an artist, I need to be more adept at separating the personal from the professional. Every public figure whether big, mid-range or small has the right to maintain some personal boundaries. Virtually every small or mid-range public figure maintains a public page and private account. This is nothing new. Reclaiming my private Facebook account for only people I actually know is nothing personal against anyone whether I’ve met them or not. It’s just me shifting the majority of people over to a public domain that is easier to control. It’s not like anybody is going to miss anything important by shifting to the public page. So claiming it as a slap in the face or some other overreaction really irritates me because I’m doing everything I can to keep people happy and my life comfortable too. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or don’t want you around. I’m just shifting things around a little bit.
Quite honestly, going to the public page is better for everyone because there are no limits on numbers. I won’t have to turn people away anymore. So please, understand why I’m redefining how I do things. No more “slap in the face” messages, especially if I’ve never met you or worked with you. It honestly is nothing personal. You’re not going to miss anything by going to the public page. In fact, I’m probably more active over there these days because I want people to feel welcome.