I wish people would understand what they put on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) affects their professional career. Let me say it this way – when employers are looking at candidates, they will research a candidate via social media and decide if that candidate is good enough just to be called in for an interview. Is it fair? Is it prejudice? Is it discriminatory? If you think it is, you need to ask yourself the question, would you hire a person who uses profanity on the Internet, shows disgusting and damaging photos of themselves and others, and rants and raves about their relationship issues?
Please don’t get me wrong – social media is a nice tool to use, if you know how to use it properly. All too often, people use social media for the wrong reasons and because of that, they are left out and denied the opportunities that could be afforded to them, if they simply understood how to use it to market/brand themselves for great things.
Because social media is so easy to use, it’s tempting to post something derogatory. Think about it for a moment. When an individuals’ emotions is running high with anger, hurt, and/or disappointment, social media provides the outlet. You’ll have friends who will either empathize or sympathize with you. In addition to that, you’ll have those who will even add their own comments to either comfort you or add fuel to the fire. That’s why you have to be careful what you post on social media. Remember, once it’s written, it will never leave the worldwide web, even if you delete the post/comment.
Here are a few suggestions I want to offer you about using social media.
- Never allow your anger to manifest itself on social media. For example, if you’re upset with your partner, keep it off social media. Learn to communicate your feelings with your partner away from social media
- Understand that employers are looking at social media as well
- Your posts/comments are not just within your sphere of friends. It’s made public
- Ask yourself the question – will this post/comment come back to hurt me in the future?
- How will others view you by your posts?
As an entrepreneur, I fully understand the importance of branding oneself as a professional. Unless people see you as a person with character and integrity, they won’t do business with you. Please understand that I am in no way, shape, or form categorizing those who post ‘silly’ things on social media as people who lack character and integrity. What I am saying is that you have to really think about what you post. Is it something positive? Is it educational? Does it inspire stimulating conversations? And is it informative?
If you plan on going into business for yourself, clean up your social media presence. If you’re already in business for yourself, make sure your business and personal sites are professional. I can’t tell you how many times deals are won and lost based of what people see on social media sites. You have the power to market/brand yourself with the right image.
The choice is yours to make. If you fail to heed this advice, don’t get mad when doors remain closed for you to walk through.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, and life coach, Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey