If you have spent any amount of time using social media, you know that everyone uses it in their own unique way. Some strictly for work, some strictly for personal and many a combination of both. I definitely fall into the both category and my guess is that if you are reading this, you fall into this category as well. This leads to the question, where to draw the line between personal and private?

You want to show your personal side in social media because business is all about relationships, but you don’t want to cross the line that puts you and your family in harm’s way or alienates your audience. These decisions really come down to personal preference, but the safety issue is really something you need to consider:

  • Will you use your family members’ real names?
  • Will you post pictures of your family?
  • Will you post Foursquare and other location based updates?

Beyond the safety issue, is what content will your audience find interesting and what could turn them off? The last thing you want to do is change the opinion of your company from good to bad just through how you choose to use social media. This is why so many companies are initiating social media usage policies and require employees to display disclaimers stating their opinions do not reflect the company.

Obviously, this is going to depend on the type of business you have and your audience. A beer company is going to have a lot more freedom than a law firm as to what would alienate their audience. As businesses move to be more social with more voices representing the company, this is going to become an important topic of conversation. How do you draw the line?