It’s no secret how great our generation thinks social media sites are, and how they often cure our boredom. This social media obsession, however, does come with some disadvantageous effects that can in turn negatively impact the impending professional reputation of any PR student.
With the enormous amount of information circulating through these sites at any given moment, we often don’t think who has access to these thoughts. Here are some reasons why your social media image can be more detrimental than you realize:
- Potential audience: You never know who will find your page. Example: your boss. Or, your prospective boss. Those mobile uploads from last Friday night might not be so funny anymore if someone brings them up in an interview. If you’re applying for a PR position, but are poorly representing yourself, this is sending conflicting messages. Consider your audience before you post something that you would not want someone to bring up at your place of business.
- Lack of privacy: With the ability to read someone’s tweets without signing up for an account on Twitter, and Facebook’s new timeline feature making it infinitely easier to revisit anything once posted, your life becomes an open book. Photos, check-ins, and status updates can potentially end up in the wrong hands, thus ruining your professional reputation before it is even established.
- Personal vs. professional: If you’ve integrated your social media network to include not just personal connections but also professional ones, finding a balance between the desire to share personal thoughts and keeping it professional can be difficult. Think twice. Your personal views and opinions may alienate perspective employers/clients/etc. and make you untrustworthy as someone who will be promoting and representing their company in the future.
Networking, both technologically and old-fashioned, can have amazing results for you and your career. However, using these tools does require thought and purpose before posting. When thinking about your social media presence, think of this: the downfall is not that your posts are you, but that you may be sharing too much of you. Covering your tracks now is infinitely easier than attempting to go back and delete detrimental information later.