Social media can feel like your own personal paparazzi is splashing your name across web pages and into the hands of well, quite literally, everyone and your mother. Even if you don’t use social media for business, the warning to clean up your online image and avoid potential scandal has become constant, often directed at college-age students and budding professionals.
What was once considered a personal site filled with 700 of your closest friends, certainly won’t damage your chances of being taken seriously in the job market, right? This, of course, is the great debate. Should sites like Facebook and Twitter be limited by the buttoned up realm of the professional world?
Well, no, not exactly. The sites are personal yet, the world can see them. With our increasingly public lives, lines need to be drawn to keep the balance. Potential employers or clients can walk into our lives with a simple Google search. So instead of letting everyone in on the intimate details of your social life, give them a little taste of your personality but keep it classy.
How much can be revealed? How much is too much? Some sites, like Linkedin, have clear a purpose. It’s strictly a business zone reserved for creating and honing your professional networks.
Facebook profiles can be much more personal. So, if you don’t want people peeping through the windows of your personal life, close the curtains. Use the privacy settings and stop friending everyone you meet. Or, post as you like, but amp up the security settings and zero in on your audience. Just remember your grandma is probably on Facebook and if she’s not, then someone else’s grandmother is.
Twitter is quite another beast. It’s an open space decorated by you. Sort of like the front porch to your social media house. It’s okay to pin up personal décor but try and keep a positive image for your followers. While you can limit who follows you, everyone can see your tweets.
If you’re willing to sacrifice sharing the latest Vegas vacation pics and keep your online image strictly professional, good for you. But, if you want to make it a personal space to share your life, just remember to keep your posts appropriate for your audience. Be careful what you post if you’re connected with co-workers, clients or employers on social media. Utilize advanced security and list building settings and keep up with changing privacy policies, check out this article on Facebook privacy concerns.
Really, how you portray yourself online is up to you but once Google finds you, there’s no turning back. So if you think posting something could potentially damage your hard-earned reputation, think twice and don’t post it. Show your best side on social media and remember, all eyes are on you.
Amanda MacCormick is a PR Coordinator at Franco Public Relations Group. She can be reached at email@example.com or connect with her on Twitter @AmandaMickMac, Connect with Franco PR Group on Facebook and Twitter@FrancoPRGroup.