As a young professional, especially as a young communications professional, I can’t help but notice social media “no-no’s” from my peers. I’m sure there are a lot of other 21 year olds who know how to be socially acceptable on social media channels, but more often than not, I find myself cringing at the inappropriate profile pictures, language, and way “TMI” status updates and tweets.
So… all you youngsters out there (or anyone mentoring one of these social media violators), please take notes.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to building your social reputation.
1. That picture you took of your “awesome” keg stand form from last weekend? Delete it.
I know you want to think that the only people who will ever view your Facebook are your sorority sisters and best friends, but you’re very very wrong. You’ve heard it before: employers will look at your pages; and they do! Is the drunken college student image really how you want to be seen? I sure hope not.
2. Enough with the negativity!
Listen, Debbie Downer. Your depressing “my life sucks” (or “FML”) tweets and posts are making us all feel really sorry for you, but they’re also annoying – and giving you plenty of unwanted attention. If you’re constantly sharing how miserable you are, people are going to think you’re a miserable person to be around. Your personal pity parties aren’t going to get you very far, so turn that frown upside down and perk up!
3. Spelling and grammar rules still apply.
Whether you like it or not, people can and will judge you based on spelling and grammar. At the very least, please take the time to learn (or re-learn, hopefully) the basics:
• to, too, two
• then, than
• your, you’re
• bored, board
• their, there, they’re
• weather, whether
If you don’t understand the difference between these commonly misused words, look it up. I’m begging you.
4. We’re on a need-to-know basis.
Chances are, even your friends don’t want to picture you in the bathroom all day from that awful stomach flu, nor do they want to know what you did every single second of the day. This rule especially applies to moms. Yes, we’re all super happy that your child “went pee pee AND poopies on the potty today,” but I could have done without the picture. Not to mention, that picture of your two year old standing there naked is now being viewed by millions of complete strangers. Keep the “TMI” posts at a bare minimum (no pun intended).
5. Your mom looks at social media.
Okay, even if she doesn’t, let’s pretend she does. Your mom is a super-cool party animal, you say? Think of your grandma looking at social media – the one that yells at you for drinking a glass of wine at a family function, even though you’re of age. Got grams in your head? Good. Now take a close look at your profile(s). Would she still be proud of you and show you off to her Bible study posse?
Bottom line is… no one is asking you to be perfect when it comes to social media, just like no one expects you to be an expert on the rules and tricks of the trade. But if you want to be viewed as a respectable young adult (or young professional), people DO expect you to be smart. Think before you post. The world will thank you for it!