Protect your street cred!BY SELENA SHEIKH
Let me set the record straight.
If you have a social media account of any sort, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog or Google+ or any form of network that allows you to stay in touch and/or communicate with people - your life is public.
How so, right? Let me tell you, in 2008, I was headhunted for a job through my Facebook page. What struck was strange and a little awesome about this experience was, the recruiter is a lady who is based in the US. The role that she offered me was for a public relations agency in Singapore that was looking to start up their digital division. Complicated? Not anymore.
Regardless of how many privacy controls you’ve set, if you put your personal information online without curating it, someone, somewhere will have access to that little detail. Your information is not limited to the friends you share it with.
Although I didn’t get the job eventually, the recruiter and I remained friends. When she visited Singapore recently, I learned from her that an increasing number of recruiters look at your online profile on various sites before deciding if they should call you for a job opportunity.
The same tactic is used by clients, potential and current employers, the media and even your potential dates.
According to a report by Gartner, which was published on MIS Asia on 30 May 2012, corporations are starting to embrace technologies used to monitor employee Internet use, with 60 percent expected to watch workers' social media use for security breaches by 2015.
Alarming? Yes, only if you have been abusing the use of social media. Today, more people are getting into trouble over the information that they post in their online accounts. Some examples are over where you decide to check-in and the types of pictures you choose to post.
If you happen to be friends with your boss, is it really wise for you to check into a bar on a work night with your colleagues and post pictures of a great night, only to call-in sick the next day?
I’ve seen this happen and people naturally assume that no one checks their online status, but think again. Your boss is probably aware that you are hung over. Calling in sick just killed whatever credibility or goodwill they had in you. When it comes to protecting your street cred, be smart with what you post online!
Social media is no longer about showing how cool you are. It is a reflection of your personality in the activities that you engage in, the people that you know and most revealingly in the pictures that your post.
Protecting your online credibility means being smart and also vigilant about the information you share and who you share it with. Before posting anything online, consider:
- Is my opinion defensible? If you are questioned about a comment or opinion posted, will you be able to provide a logical argument to support your position?
- How will my pictures or check-ins reflect on me? Do you want everyone to know that you had a wild night on the town, only to call in the next day sick? If you added your boss, colleagues or clients as friends, is this truly how you want to portray yourself? Negativity kills. Nip the complaints and instead share your unique knowledge and experience, or interesting articles that you’ve come across.
- In becoming a more savvy social media user, recognize that the first impression you make is probably through your online activities. You don’t have to be a drone to create an interesting profile that plays to your strengths. Instead of posting inane updates, think about what you are posting. Consider who will be seeing it.
- Maintaining your public profile or online credibility is easy if you are smart about it. I’m sure that you have a thousand different opinions and thoughts but at the same time, it’s good to step back once in a while, to check that you don’t go overboard. Sharing is one thing; just know that you don’t have to share everything.
After all, someone is reading it.
Selena Sheikh, Account Manager, Ying Communications