Social Circles

06/01/2011 by Justin Edelstein
How I use different personas on social networks to reach and satisfy different audiences.

I have been using social media for a long while now and since starting Arkus I have had to augment my usage of certain platforms. Whenever I post something on a social media site I have to think to myself, as a Founder and C-level executive of a company would the content of this post be ok for anyone who could possibly see it to see actually see it? While I am thinking through the lense of an owner of a company these concepts and strategies described within this post can be used by anyone. With the aforementioned question in mind, I have created a matrix or rules for myself as I continue to use social media to interact with friends, family, customers, fellow community advocates, and business contacts - I call these rules the Inner and Outer Circles. Below I will outline my strategy for how I use different social media outlets to connect with people and extend my personal brand while maintaining my awareness of how anything I say can impact my company.

The Inner Circle and Outer Circle

I created two concepts for myself, the inner circle and the outer circle. By defining which social media outlets belong in which circles I can then force my behavior to follow the rules for each circle. The inner circle are people that are close friends, family, and my fellow Arkus partners. The inner circle gets to hear about what I ate for breakfast, how the Yankees or New York Jets are playing, and see pictures of my favorite food and beverage spots. The outer circle consists of former co-workers, people who have common interests out there on the internet, people who work in my industry, and sometimes random people who I only know through association with other outer circle people.

Where Do I Post That?

For the inner circle I use Facebook and Foursquare. The inner circle group are friends with me on these platforms because they are more personal. Facebook for example has information about who I am dating, pictures of my family, and random posts about my mood at any given point. I would only want my closest of my inner circle to actually be my friend on Facebook because I wouldn't want anything I said there to be too public and potentially harm my image with customers or partners. Foursquare is even more personal so I am even more picky about who I connect with because at any given point my friends on Foursquare know exactly where I am. While I enjoy the game aspect of Foursquare with friends, I wouldn't want everyone in the world to know that I just checked in at my apartment (sad but true fact - I am the mayor of my apartment building).

For the outer circle I use LinkedIn and Twitter. For my loosely affiliated networking contacts that I want to keep in touch with I prefer to connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is perfect for keeping connections with co-workers, former co-workers, and people who work in my similar field. They only get to see information about me that I post on my profile which is all about my career. I want to know that I can quickly touch base with a former colleague or peer if I have to. As for Twitter I have multiple identities and I do this for a reason. I have my professional persona that uses my real picture, my real name, and my work email address. I also have separate personas for different things that I want to talk about in a more niche environment like my favorite sports team. Twitter is extremely public so everything I say on Twitter goes through the outer circle concept. Mind you, the outer circle does get real updates about real things that I care about, they just don't get to see where I am at every moment of the day and with whom I am eating dinner. It just isn't relevant for the people in the outer circle to see those types of updates.  

Why All These Circles?

The notion of my professional outward facing persona is one that I am very careful with. I don't want one of my largest customers seeing pictures of my cat or pictures of me pigging out on some delicious BBQ because it's not relevant to those people. I want the ability to reach those customers in an appropriate way, hence the inner circle and outer circle rules. It's very simple to create your own inner and outer circles and then stick to them while being extremely social on the web. Just think about who the audience is for each platform that you want to participate on and then stick the rules of the inner and outer circle.

If you want to get social with me about this post feel free to comment via Twitter at