Today, your boss, work colleagues, recruiters, and even clients are utilizing social media to discover more about you, and others in their professional environment. Creating a distinction between your personal and professional life, through monitoring your online profiles, and adjusting your privacy settings, is essential for your personal brand and reputation. Individuals should practice the following recommendations when communicating through social media:
1. Ensure Your Personal Profiles Are Private
Setting your ‘personal’ profiles to ‘private’ on social media is the strongest measure in mitigating potential professional damage. Employers, and your colleagues, may use social media to get a better understanding of who you are, as your profile reveals a lot about you.
It’s best to administer your privacy settings on Facebook. For example, it will prevent employers and colleagues from seeing certain posts, photos, and albums. Also, you should ensure that you approve all photos you have been ‘tagged’ in before they are published, this is another setting available to you.
Another option is to set your accounts with different names. Your personal accounts could have your first, middle, and last names, making it more difficult for employers and collegues to discover you, and your professional account can use your first and last name.
Never accept friend requests from an individual or organisation that you don’t know, it puts you at risk of identity theft, as they will have access to your date of birth and email addresses etc. You should also think carefully before befriending work colleagues, or your boss on social media, as it may blur the lines between private and professional, putting yourself and your colleagues in an awkward position.
2. Be Aware of Your Settings
Ensure that you carefully read the privacy settings of the social media sites you use to know what your rights are. Also, make sure that you stay up-to-date on their many privacy changes.
- "Un-tag" yourself from potentially embarrassing photos.
- Participating in games, quizzes, “Liking” pages, joining communities, and commenting on others’ pages, reveals information about you.
- Hide or block a user who may cause problems in the future.
- Approve all photos you have been "tagged" in by other friends before they are published; this is another setting that is available to you.
- When you sign up for Twitter, you have the option to keep your tweets public (the default account setting) or to protect your Tweets.
- Accounts with protected tweets require manual approval of everyone who wnats to view that account's tweets.
- Public tweets (the default setting) are visible to everyone, whether or not they have a Twitter account.
- Protected tweets will only be visible to your approved Twitter followers.
- If you want to control who sees your updates, you can choose to protect your tweets. You can always change your mind and make them public later.
- Under the 'About Me' section, posting political stance or religious beliefs, marital status, date of birth, or other intimate details, may be hazardous.
- LinkedIn allows for tweets to be automatically fed from Twitter to your LinkedIn profile. Decide whether or not this option is good for you.
Be aware of what information is visible on your public profile, not just that which appears to your private connections. Include information in your profile that focuses solely on professional matters, such as past employers and job skills.
The Social Check Team