Authors & Identity — Public vs. Private Lives in Social Networking

online communityI keep reading on social media that Facebook is cracking down on anyone with more than one account.  Today I ran across a blog from 2010 where the author gets down on Mark Zuckerberg who, back then, was quoted as saying:

Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.

I had to giggle.

I wonder what Zuckerberg would think of my four pen names because technically – I have five identities. Anne O’Connell – the kinky erotic romance novelist, Audrey Brice, the brooding mystery writer, S. J. Reisner, the fun loving fantasy/paranormal writer, S. Connolly – the renowned Daemonolatry author, and finally, Stephanie Reisner – the 42-year-old happily married woman who loves gardening, crafting, reading, and sci-fi movies, who works as an accounting supervisor and moonlights as a writer. Learn why I have four pen names HERE.

I know Zuckerberg and the FB crew would have a fit if they knew I had two Facebook accounts. After all, I have a very public and a very private life, and I like keeping them separate. I think it’s probably prudent to point out that  BOTH of my accounts use my legal name(s). I was a Connolly before I became a Reisner by marriage. There is method to my madness though. Obviously Mr. Zuckerberg has never had the misfortune of attracting mentally unstable stalkers — one of the many reasons I now keep two separate Facebook accounts.  It’s none of my reading public’s business when my husband and I are on vacation, or when my pipes break, or when my family has a crisis. That kind of stuff should remain between family and friends. I have no desire to share that kind of intimacy with complete strangers.

Being public 24/7 can also be wearing on a person. If you wonder why so many celebrities go crazy — this is probably why. Now, don’t take that to mean I think I’m some sort of celebrity. I’m not. Far from it in fact. However, I am a writer and thousands of people read my work every year. Some of them truly believe that because I have books out there that my personal life should be open to their scrutiny. Therefore – in many people’s eyes, I’m a public figure. Despite this,  I still would like the option of being able to pick and choose what my readers see about my life, and what they don’t. Hence the second Facebook account for only family and friends.

“Well just use pages,” you say.

I do. I have a page for each pen name, but I also have one active “writer” profile where readers can go to get to know me as a person (what I allow anyway), and where they can watch the writing process as it happens.

Had I known back in 2009 when I set up my initial FB that complete strangers would be weighing in on my life and getting nosy and telling me I was living my life wrong, I would have done that to begin with. However, my initial FB ended up with so many people on it that changing it to a page meant I might lose some connections and not reach as many people. At the same time, I didn’t like that it had gotten to a point where I couldn’t share personal information with all my family and friends in one shot without risking being judged by my readers, or having complete strangers openly criticize my personal life.

It also opened my family and friends to being watched by my stalker and other people who wanted to get to know me so well, that they were constantly sending my husband, sisters, brother, and parents friend requests. That was kind of creepy for them.

Now I no longer have that issue. However, if I did find myself forced to remove one FB, I would likely choose to turn the author profile into a page – disconnecting me from readers. But at the same time it would be worth it to be able to remain connected with my family and friends.

So do I lack integrity? I don’t think so. I just value my privacy away from the prying eyes of people who might want to get to know me more than I’m comfortable with – and I think that’s okay. I’m also not the only author who does this.

What are your feelings about FB’s one profile rule? Do you follow it? Why or why not?

About Steph

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at swordarkeereon@gmail.com

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