LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and social networking sites have given you a platform for creating and managing your reputation: your personal brand.

Perhaps that’s not working for your family.

Perhaps they don’t care to read your wonky blog about the political war being waged on contraception, or don’t know why you want them to know you “like” Troy Lee Designs (unless it’s a signal for birthday gift-giving time) or might even feel they raised you wrong if you won a Porky badge for eating more BBQ than anyone else checking in on Foursquare today.

Perhaps your family knows you TOO well to learn all about you again, or as you are doling out information in the context of 2,000 or so so-called friends. Not that they don’t love you. They just know you. Really know you.

Love, actually, may be the point and the problem of social networking sites. Some of us have widened our networks to virtual strangers who are now virtual friends or at least friendly looky-loos. Real family may still crave a family-style connection, with the ease that social sites provide.

Divide into two

So, you have some new choices to make about where you go and how you spend your time online.

If you have ever told your boss that you loved her more than life itself, chances are that text was meant for someone you actually do love more than life itself. It’s just that their names both start with the same letter, and your thumbs were … all thumbs. Never again!

The new Pair app creates a social network of two. Period. Two people. You and your pair bond partner. Even better (or weirder), you can “thumb kiss.” Press your thumbs on your respective screens: feel the vibe. Literally. Your phones vibrate.

Got more than just a significant other at a distance? FamilyLeaf was founded about two months ago solely for families – in part to make it easy for older people to enjoy photo sharing – or really: photo seeing. If old folks can pick up email, then new entries to your family photo album can be emailed to them from a central place. It does mean you have to elect one family member to be the gatekeeper. I expect sibling rivalries, and old who’s-not-talking-to-who-since-the-incident-at-Connie’s-wedding problems are going to rear their ugly heads.

The point is your personal branding efforts may finally have found a natural boundary: the people you are most naturally connected to may not have to suffer being a part of your larger audience.

You all can get more private, like you might be doing with Path now. Of course, Path originally limited you to 40 close friends and soon was compelled to lift the limit to 150 (the neuro-scientifically defined outer boundary of friends, by the way).

So, while some of us yearn for more people, some of us yearn for less. And, now some of us will be trying to do it all. Two more sites and no more time? As it often happens, you may hurt the ones you love the most. What will FamilyLeaf and Pair reveal about your priorities?


Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen