Gone are the days of moving away and losing touch with friends. We can stay connected as never before. I have lived in two countries, five states and two provinces. Social media has provided a way to reconnect with people whom I had lost contact with over the years. Social media is integrated into nearly every part of daily life, it has become a fundamental way to get information about the world and connect.
Social media has blurred the lines between people’s personal and professional time and space. It is important to understand the impact a person’s social media presence has on our personal and professional life.
Employers utilize social media to check potential employees. They do google searches and check social media pages to see what type of person you are. If you have anything posted on your page that is vulgar or inappropriate it is almost guaranteed that regardless of your qualifications you will be passed over. The same is true for scholarship and college admissions. As a general rule, nothing on social media is private. What is posted can negatively impact people seeking employment, educational opportunities and organizations you are affiliated with.
Just as businesses have a “brand” your social media profile has become your brand, and it needs to be managed the same way businesses and organizations manage theirs.
- Public vs Private
Even with the privacy options, it can be difficult to guarantee the sites are fully private. Always start with the assumption that anything can be seen by anyone. Even if you have a privacy setting set for your pages, comments made to friends’ pages or public pages are not private. If you don’t want it out there for the world to see, then do not post.
- Social media moves fast, think twice before you post.
T is it true? Is the post/picture/comment truthful or is it possibly based on a rumor?
H is your post helpful or will it harm or hurt someone?
I is the information accurate? Is it Inspiring?
N is this needed?
K is it kind?
- Exercise good judgment
Beware of posting rants, inappropriate content or photos that not only sheds a bad light on yourself but also a bad light on your employer and any organization you are affiliated with. Ask yourself “what kind of impression do I want to leave for others?”
- Be Fair and Respectful
Some people like to be the ‘devil’s advocate’. There is a time and place for good candid discussions and debates. They are best left for personal face to face meetings where opinions can be expressed with tones and body language so that the meaning is not misunderstood. It is okay to disagree with someone, but be very wary of getting involved in a war of words on a social media discussion.
- Be Positive
Being positive, means you want your audience to be excited and inspired. Do not engage with criticizing.
Social media has become an important tool for marketing and communication. It is a dynamic and powerful tool to capture the community and shape the conversations about brands and beyond. Just like businesses need to be ethical and transparent in their posts, individuals need to practice the same rules. Have fun, stay connected and think before you post.
Cheryl Viola, Executive Director
- Communications Council. (n.d.). Social Media Code of Conduct. Retrieved from https://www.communicationscouncil.org.au/downloads_tcc/2012/CC_Social%20Media%20Code%20of%20Conduct_FINAL.pdf
- Dodaro, M. (2019, May 31). 7 Social Media Content Writing Tips. Retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/7-social-media-content-writing-tips/555805/
- How to Use Social Media Responsibly. (2019, July 25). Retrieved from https://sdvirtualschools.com/how-to-use-social-media-responsibly/