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The Great Facebook Debate: Personal Account or Page?

For the longest time I resisted the idea of starting a professional facebook Page. I already had a Personal Account. Why in the world would I need another thing to keep track of?

In Facebook World, most people sign up for a Personal Account. This is the usual, initial sign-up where we add “friends.” We can choose to accept or ignore “friend requests.” We can control who we allow onto our account and our privacy settings. Some of us may reserve facebook for only those people we’ve met in real life, old school buddies, long lost relatives, etc. Others of us pretty much accept anyone onto our account.

A professional facebook Page, on the other hand, is slightly different from a personal account. In “old” facebook terminology, the page was called a “Fan Page.” Thankfully, facebook dropped the “Fan” part and now it’s simply called a “Page.” Anyone can come to our “Page” and “Like” us there. It’s open to the public.

So, yes, I now have a Personal Account AND a Page. Both are free and easy to set up. I debated long and hard about the decision. After talking with my web designer, Kelli Standish, about the entire issue, I decided to give the Page a try. And now that I have, I’m glad I did. Here are a few of the reasons why I chose to open a Page.

1. Personal accounts have a friend limit. Currently the limit is 5000. My personal account rocketed to over 1000 in less than a year during my pre-publication days. After publication it’s possible that eventually I won’t have room to add anyone to my personal account.

2. We can get off to a good start. I’ve found it slightly awkward when others decide to start their Page and then ask me to stop following their personal account to follow their page. I’d rather steer most people toward my Author Page right from the start, especially readers.

3. I can keep my personal account more personal. Like most of you, I’ve connected with tons of real-life friends and family on my personal account. I don’t want to overwhelm them with stuff about my book and writing. Occasionally I share news about my writing with friends and family, but only because I’m really excited, not because I’m trying to promote myself.

4. I can direct new contacts to my Author Page. I still get quite a few requests for friendships from people I don’t know—probably because facebook recommended me to them because we have 300 friends in common (or something like that!). I always accept friends that I know through blogging or twitter or some other way. But for those who are complete strangers, I can now suggest they join my Author Page.

5. The Author Page can be more purposeful for my writing career. My Page says right on it, “The official reader page of Author, Jody Hedlund.” Those who "Like" the Page know what they’re signing up for. They expect that I’ll share information about my books, my blog posts, and my writing life. Of course I want to be as personal there as possible. But no one is going to roll their eyes when I post information about my book because that’s what the page is for.

6. Most importantly, I have a place for readers. I want a place that’s easily accessible. I don’t want anyone to have to wait until I get around to “accepting” their friend request in order to connect with me. With the Author Page, readers can immediately come, get the latest news, and join in the conversation.

Personal Account or Professional Page? The debate still rages. Ultimately every author needs to do what works best for them. Hopefully, I’ve given you something to think about as you make the decision for yourself! For a couple other opinions on the matter visit Writer Unboxed: To Have or Not Have a Facebook Page and Using Facebook to Amplify Your Reach (by Jane Friedman).

So, what are your thoughts? Do you have a Page and if so why did you choose it? And if you’ve opted NOT to have a Page and are sticking with a personal account, what led you to that decision?

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