On Monday I discussed the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media. Today I am going to tell you how to enjoy the benefits of social media without falling prey to its darkside.
The Golden Rule: If you would not want it posted on a billboard next to a busy highway and/or you would not want you mom to know about it, DO NOT post it on the internet!
- Separate Personal and Professional: You do not have to add everyone you know to every social media account you have. Professional sites like LinkedIn are designed for enhancing your professional goals so you should stick to professional contacts on that site – those who can vouch for your skills or help you in your career path. Other sites such as Facebook are more personal in nature so it is ok to add all your high school friends and their friends and their friends too.
- Use Privacy Settings: Although they are far short of perfect, privacy settings can help keep things private that you do not want the entire world to see. Carefully thought out privacy setting can allow professional colleagues a glimpse into your world without revealing all the skeletons you may have.
- Reflect: Remember that your profiles are a reflection of who you are in a mirror that is visible to the world. Make sure that it reflects the right thing. Think about what you post and how it reflects who you are as a person. Is it really putting out the image you want to convey?
- Less is Sometimes More: You don’t need thousands of friends or followers. Your social media contacts should have a purpose instead of just being a collection of people you have (or maybe haven’t) met.
- Clean Sweep: Continuously be checking your social media outlets for things that could taint your reputation including: posts by others, posts you made, photos, immature or inappropriate links and the like.
Create Content Not Noise:
- Blog: A blog is a fantastic medium through which you can show your passion and your skills. WordPress and Blogspot are both very easy to use and can be set up in no time. Pick a general theme, or assign themes to each day to give you more of a guideline on what to write about. Just be careful what you write, because it is on the internet for all to see. Avoid writing about employers or employees – that should be kept in an old fashion diary for your eyes only.
- Complete Your Profile: Most professional social media sites give you a status bar as to where your profile is in terms of completeness (50%, 75% etc.) Be sure to get it all the way up to 100% so that when a potential employer or school views your profile they are getting the most complete professional image of you.
- Be Consistent: If you start a blog or a website, be sure to post on a regular basis. If you subscribe to multiple networking sites (both personal and professional) be sure to check them regularly as you may be getting messages from excellent contacts that might not be getting through to your email.