The case against two social accounts for journalists

Journalists are dividing in half at an alarming rate.

In a quest to brand themselves as socially savvy journalists, many are opening second Facebook or Twitter accounts, devoted just to their journalism.

I’ve seen no fewer than five of my connections launch new social platforms for their work as a journalist in the last week.

My advice: Stop it.

You’re hurting yourself. Here’s why.

Each platform will be less interesting.

When you separate parts of yourself — Mark the social marketer, Mark the journalist, Mark the tech geek, Mark the unusually cheery morning person — each piece gets less interesting.

People on social media have more patience than you give them credit for when it comes to posts that are a bit off their beat.

If you separate “work” social activity from the rest, that work platform often quickly becomes as boring as a list of headlines.

This is social media. You’ve already lost the social part.

You’ll post less often.

Maintaining two Facebook profiles is not easy. Especially if you’re using two personal accounts (technically a violation of Facebook’s TOS), you’re creating a posting environment that requires that you log in and out of each.

Chances are, you’re logged in to the more personal account on your phone. See some breaking news you’d like to post on your drive home?

Oh, wait. Let me log out.

You’ll be less motivated to engage.

Start a new account now — especially a fan page — and you’ll be witness to a terribly slow uptake of new fans. By the end of the week, you might have 20.

How motivated are you going to be to provide great content there?

Your posts will be seen by fewer people.

This should really be the only reason you need. Chances are, your current Facebook page and Twitter account have a bit of equity in them. When you start fresh, you have to build that up again.

You’ve just lost your audience.

You’re more interesting than you know.

The objection I hear most often from journalists is: “But my friends don’t want to see my stories.”

The secret: They actually do. You’re interesting. You have a cool job. You know things. Sometimes you get to travel, covering things we couldn’t see otherwise. Your friends can be some of the best advocates of your work. Don’t leave them out.

Privacy settings are your friend.

Something else we also often hear: “I don’t want readers seeing photos of my kids.”

A five-minute look at privacy settings can clear this one up. Your Facebook followers will only see content you post as public. Only people you accept as friends will see friends-only posts.

Good? Good.

Facebook is changing.

Facebook has gradually shifted the platform away from clear distinctions between friends and brands. Facebook subscribers are now called followers. The social network has allowed created more ways to follow a brand page outside the traditional “like.”

Sometime soon, we’ll just connect with people and connect with brands seamlessly. You’ll need to be you.

Just you.