We spend more time out of the day on our phones socializing in our virtual lives than we do in the real world. It is easy to get caught up in these cybernetic realities that we have created, but it is important to remember that just as we have a presence or image in the real life, we also have a virtual profile of ourselves. One that everyone can access and that stays around a long time.
Social media is great keeping in touch with friends and family from a distance, but it can also be a great tool for gaining success in your professional life. Therefore it is important to maintain a professional profile. When you go in for an interview the first thing that your employer will see is your appearance. If you really want the job, you hopefully dressed appropriately for the occasion. If that same employer were to look you up on your Facebook page would it be consistent with the person that was just in their office? Keep in mind that employer may very well have looked you up on Facebook before you came in for the interview. Facebook may be your first impression.
Pictures say a thousand words, and the world is one click away from viewing how you spend your free time. Keep your pictures tidy. Maintain a professional profile picture which doesn’t mean that it has to be a boring photo of you pretending to be professional. Put a picture up that you would be proud of, one that says something about your personality. As for the rest of your pictures, a good rule to follow is don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see. Don’t post your wild escapades, or that one time you failed a test. And while we are on that same note, don’t tag your friends in those photos either. Sometimes your friends catch you off guard or think it’s funny to snap a photo of you at your worst. Keep those friends in check and be aware of what photos you are tagged in and be mindful of what you tag them in as well.
Besides photos, what you say on your social networking sites says a lot about you. Always be respectful and professional when posting anything to yours or anyone else’s feed. If you had a bad day at work, it is probably not the wisest decision to post it online where your boss or coworkers might be able to see. Be mindful of your language and content. Don’t use offensive language or be blatantly disrespectful when voicing your opinion. Social networking sites are great tools to speak freely about your judgments and beliefs but being respectfully aware of others in cyberspace is the only way you will be respected. There are lots of opportunities to comment on others too. Another rule to follow is if someone posts something that you’re not particularly fond of it is easier to not say anything at all or address the situation somewhere other than the internet.
The internet is permanent. Everything that you post will exist forever in the cyber world. Take the time to clean up your social networking sites and consider how you want the world to see you through the eyes of the computer screen. Social networking sites are meant to get you ahead, don’t fall behind because your profile is an inaccurate or inappropriate representation of yourself.Hannah Jones ITC Front Desk