Social Media: Where’s The Line Between Professional and Personal?

Week 4.8 to 4.12

When it comes to social media, it can be hard to see and know where the line between professional and personal exists. With the growth of social media over the past few years and the almost normal functionality of social media in the workplace, it’s becoming even harder. Social media is slowly starting to run the world. It’s a deep hole of information. You can consume basically any type of information, whether it’s correct or not, for better or for worse.

Social media is becoming more and more relevant in the job search too, for both recruiters and candidates. Recruiters are on Twitter trying to grab passive candidates, companies post jobs on Facebook, they showcase their culture on Instagram, and some are even using Snapchat to reach clients and candidates. Candidates follow companies to learn about opportunities and their culture, and so much more. Trying to maneuver social media as a social platform AND a business platform can be blurring lines that previously haven’t been blurred.

Everyone uses social media differently and has different ideas of what is appropriate or not to post on their profile. So what should you post? What shouldn’t you post? How do you know if somethings going to get you in trouble? The most basic advice is if you don’t want your boss seeing it don’t post it on social media. We’ve all heard it before, but nothing on the internet is actually private, no matter how badly we want it to be. Before you start your job hunt, do a quick Google search of your name – in an incognito browser – and see what comes up. Try to do your best to clean up anything that you don’t want a potential employer seeing. Make accounts private, delete any content, or deactivate any accounts.

Never air your dirty laundry with your coworkers or about your company on social media. Even the most innocent “I can’t believe my coworker brought fish for lunch today,” can cause issues in the workplace. Companies have varying social media policies, and might not be as harsh as getting fired, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. At the very least, you don’t want the awkward confrontation of your coworkers realizing you’ve been secretly tweeting about how much you hate her. If you don’t agree with something that your company or management is doing, the opposite solution to the problem is to post it on social media. The only thing you’ll accomplish is getting a one-way ticket out of the company.

At the end of the day, what’s appropriate to post on social media is going to be more opinion than fact. Most people can agree on certain things that should never be posted, but there will never be a 100% agreement between everyone in terms of content on the internet. If you’re questioning what is appropriate take a look at industry leaders and what they’re posting. Remember that they’ve been in the game for a while so it can give them a little bit more freedom in terms of the language they use, but for the most part, they should be the standard.

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