By Ashley Paula
With the popularity of social media today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to separate their “online identity” from their “actual identity”. This crosses over into the business world. Organizations of all sizes have come to terms with the fact that social media is not going away – not anytime soon at least. Therefore, many companies have integrated social media into their business plans, marketing strategies and service offerings. Because the line between the personal and professional social media forums has blurred, it is necessary to take caution when using social media. Here are a few suggestions of “What Not to Do” when sharing information through social media platforms:
- Broadcast an opinion you do not want everyone to see:We are all entitled to our own opinions. However, if you are concerned with “who” or how many people will see an opinion, don’t post it. Even if the social media channel such as Twitter or Facebook is not open to everyone, people always share information outside your personal network.
- Complain about the workplace:Remember, your boss and colleagues are also online – and so are your future employers. Not only can you lose your job due to bad-mouthing the company or your colleagues; but also, future employers can scan your social media activity when looking to hire.
- Share when you are angry: Social media environments are not the best place to be impulsive or to vent. You can’t take back what you’ve shared online, so make sure you think twice before communicating your emotions.
- Lie:The more people that know about a lie, the more likely it is to be discovered. When posting anything online, it’s safer to just either tell the truth or keep quiet.
- Gossip about industry peers: It is a good practice to keep your comments about industry peers to yourself. In almost every industry, networking is an important part of one’s success and reputation. If you are known to gossip, no one will want to connect with you on a professional level.
- Post when intoxicated: When judgment is impaired and inhibitions are lowered, you never know what you may end up posting and regretting later. Therefore, our suggestion is: don’t post when intoxicated.
- Post an inappropriate profile picture: Your profile picture on any networking website should be one that would withstand scrutiny from the highest level executive in your industry. Your profile picture is often your online image in search engines, sales tools, etc. For example, Salesforce.com has recently launched features such as Faceconnector that pulls Facebook profile and friend information into Salesforce CRM, allowing users to have a “360 degree view of customers, prospects and business associates”.
- Share confidential content: It is best not to share information online that is not meant for a larger audience. Items you post on networking sites can be traced back to you.
- Broadcast all of your personal information: When posting personal information to networking sites, be as discrete as possible. For example, if you post your birthday, for security reasons you may want to alter the year. Also, if you don’t want everyone to know or ask you details about personal events in your life, don’t share them online.
- Share pictures that you don’t want certain groups to see: When posting pictures to social media sites, it’s best to avoid posting inappropriate pictures – or pictures you wouldn’t want your boss to see. Despite the various privacy settings that social media sites such as Facebook might have, there are no guarantees that your photos will not be distributed.
All in all, the lesson here is to keep your social media and online presence as clean and straight forward as possible. With the lines blurred between personal and professional use of social media, it’s best to protect your reputation by safeguarding your online presence