I have always struggled with the notion of private vs public social profiles and having recently watched the movie the Circle a.k.a Google, I was happy to see it’s a common dilemma.
Private was the Norm
If we look back at the history of the Internet and subsequently the history of Facebook, as probably, one of the earliest social networks out there, we see that they have all started as private networks among a selected few. Although it might have started as such to enable some sort of control, the fact that we today still seek privacy with our online profiles, means, Private is the norm!
Having said that, “Private” does not necessary mean we have something to hide. It simply states the fact that, not everything we share is for the public eye. It is like the door to your house; would you leave it open all the time!
When B2B should go Private?
If I am to list few profiles that should be private on social media for businesses I would say:
- LinkedIn / Facebook groups
- Instagram account for knowledge sharing
- YouTube Channel for Training
To elaborate; if a company has an alumni or wants to get insights on certain topics, it might want to create a monitored group where it can accept certain individuals to be part of that group to meet the objectives and at the same time control the content that is shared. In that essence, groups on any social media network should be private and monitored for business or even personal usage.
For Instagram, I manage a small projects sharing account on Instagram on behave of my company. The posts are meant to increase employees’ engagement within the organization and also share learnings. The images & videos shared include proprietary content and name projects that should only be disclosed with consent from the other parties involved in the project. In such a case, Instagram usage, although for business purposes, should be kept private.
For training channels on YouTube, my argument is also related to proprietary content on the channel in addition to the fact that education is a multi-billion industry and if most training institutes posted their content free of charge on social media, we wouldn’t be paying for those seminars and webinars offered by others.
What should be Public ?
For businesses, most profiles on social media should be public. I have seen few Twitter accounts that have their Tweets protected, and I am not entirely sure that Twitter, as a channel, should ever be made private. The entire network was built around sharing news, updates.. etc. If the content is sensitive, I wouldn’t setup a Twitter account to host it.
On LinkedIn, Facebook, & Google+, updates are public but I do value the element of targeting that is generally provided to make sure relevant content is pushed to the right audience across regions.
Private vs Public
I started this blog piece because in the movie, The Circle, the company was pushing their personnel, employees, and even politicians to go public with their information, details, and daily activities. The notion that one carries a camera and walks about the general population, a.k.a Google Glass, was the message. The question is, does that mean you are going public with what you see or with what others around you are doing? If the information about everyone and countries is publically made available on computers connected to the Internet, do we need secret services, private eyes, and data security companies? How would new products be patent so inventions are credited properly? or in such a free-open source world, we share credits vs own products?
I do not have an answer, and rather surrender the fight to the data privacy and data protection organizations that create rules and regulations to protect us from each other!
Have your say “Do you think companies should all have public social profiles?”
Disclaimer: I am not associated or in affiliation with the makers or producers of the movie discussed in this article, and by no means, promoting or recommending viewing beyond the point expressed here within.