Every social media post, photo, status update, and tweet leaves behind a digital footprint that can be traced back to you. Whether we like it or not, things we regret, or even forget we have placed online, can come back to bite us, limiting our opportunities and even costing our career. Our online reputations are more valuable than we realise, and with first impressions now being formed from what is seen about us online, it is more important than ever to think before we post.
Memberships to social media sites are increasing each day, with just over 12.8 million Facebook users in Australia today. It was only a matter of time until current/ future employers or clients took note of this, and began using it to look into your history and background, to form a better understanding of who you are, and how you present yourself.
Social media takes note of everything, from that night you fell asleep in the gutter, to that time you did the nudie dash down the street, so keep a squeaky clean public profile. Long gone are the days when reputation management was just for celebrities. The developments of the online world have left us exposed and vulnerable. Each public post establishes our online persona and personal brand, and can either enhance or damage our reputation.
Here are some tips to prevent disaster:
Think before you post
If your mum won’t think its appropriate, then don’t share it! ‘But my Facebook is set to private’ you may say, well, what you may not know is that images may come up in Google and Bing results via third party applications that you have given permission to.
Know the forum where you are posting
Do not post half naked selfie’s as your LinkedIn profile display picture (you would be surprised how many of these SocialCheck has found). There is a time and place for everything and LinkedIn isn’t it.
LinkedIn is a professional resource, whilst Facebook and Twitter are used more on a casual basis. If you confuse these, mark my words your opportunities will pitfall, and you will have no one else to blame but yourself.
Don’t befriend people you don’t know personally, online
Didn’t your mum ever tell you not to talk to strangers? The same rule applies in adult life, these people could destroy your career simply through associating with them, or even worse, they could steal your identity because they will have access to all your personal information.
Do NOT send sexy pictures over ANY medium
Just Google New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, otherwise known as ‘Carlos Danger’, and you will get the idea. Sending out erotic images can ruin your reputation, and end your career, especially when they have the potential to be leaked.
While there are negatives to using social media, they are definitely outweighed by the positives like networking, connecting with friends, future employers, and organisations. We need to think smart, act responsibly, and remember that what we throw out into the online universe exists forever. We may forget it’s there, but that doesn’t mean it won't be found. The first impression people get of you is online, so make it count.
The Social Check Team