Friday, September 3, 2010

Individual vs. Business Facebook Accounts

I just have to write a quick note here and share some of my thoughts.

Facebook has "accounts" (which can be "friended") for individuals and "pages" for businesses, products and other entities which can be "liked".

It is getting more and more complicated, for me anyway, as genealogists are using individual accounts for their business.

If you are going to use an account for your business please put some information on your INFO tab page that identifies who you are.

Here's why I say this, I get lots of queries about genealogy.  Most of them are NOT in my area of expertise.  So I am constantly referring people to other genealogists.

This morning I saw a post from a Facebook friend with a "business" account.  This Facebook friend looked very knowledgeable about New York.  I would like to contact this person but there is no name anywhere in the posts or on the info page.

I know, you are saying "just send the person an email."  Unfortunately I'm a bit of an old fuddy duddy.  I like to know who I am contacting first.  When I friended this person originally maybe I knew they were, but since then I have lost the connection between the real person and the company name.  So many genealogists are known better by their real name rather than their company.

So just a thought for those of you using Facebook individual accounts for your business instead of a business page - put your name(s) on your page.  Thanks!


  1. I find the same problem with genealogy blogs. Sometimes only a first name is listed. Sometimes no name at all.

  2. You're right Marian. It is getting so complicated as everyone gets introduced to new forms of social media. We're at the beginning of a long process, and while we all adapt to it, it's best to state outright who you are or you are going to garner suspicion and lose potential clients.

  3. My quick thoughts on Facebook for genealogists:

    - use only one account. Each account must be email based and it gets too difficult to manage logging in and out.

    - create Friends lists. This way you can target messages to specific groups like genealogists

    - create a Facebook page for your genealogy business. You can have as many Facebook pages as you'd like.

  4. Genealogy is a very “one-on-one, people-oriented” activity, while the series of tubes that are the internets (and even some kinds of social media) encourage people to create opaque user names, aliases and avatars in order to participate. This seems to create a kind of cognitive dissonance in some folks who equate being online with being anonymous, even though the activity they’re engaging in is intensely personal. IMHO, it just makes good business sense for those of us who work in the field and who use social media to identify ourselves (with real names) to colleagues, customers and clients. Sure, I wear my “Jonathan Sheppard Books” hat a good part of the day, but when I’m answering questions sent to the JSB site, writing articles, lecturing, Facebooking, and now blogging, I’m plain ol’ Mel Wolfgang (who…because of his name… is pretty easy to track down, anyway.)

  5. Mel,

    I agree with you completely. Thank you for pointing out the shift we are experiencing on the internet. Originally people thought the internet was an anonymous destination. But that has changed and more and more it is an open public arena where business is conducted. Also, I believe anyone who thinks they are having an anonymous experience on the internet is mistaken. Everything is traceable when it really comes down to it.

  6. Marian,
    This is timely because I too have noticed several gen businesses creating individual profiles in addition to their already established Pages. Evidently instead of doing the work to promote their pages, the people behind these businesses have decided it's easier to do one-on-one "friend" requests. My new policy is to decline being "friends" with anyone who isn't an individual.