Your Grandma Reads Your Facebook, so Shape Up!

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During recent years, branding a company using social media has become a hot topic.  Marketers are quickly changing the way they brand their business.  Traditional marketing used to build company reputations have given way to building reputations that are defined by media as a whole.  Marketing, branding, management, and reputation of employees are now all part of a businesses image.

Professionals are expected to act appropriately in their work place.  For years, successful professionals have advised keeping your personal and work lives separate. Three years ago, following this simple rule was not hard.  Now we’re faced with being friends with colleagues and clients on social networks where they can see how we behave “off hours”.   Our reputations are now being determined not by our work ethic, our volunteer activities, or how we behave at school, but by a search results on Google!

So, does this mean we shouldn’t use Facebook and Twitter for personal use?   Absolutely not!  But ask yourself this, what do you, as a person wish to be known for?  If you don’t want to be known as the guy who gets drunk every weekend and takes embarrassing photos, than don’t post that information.  In personal branding, “bad” behavior weighs more than good behavior.  For every 4 hour drunken excursion you share on Facebook, you’ll need to do 40 hours of volunteer service to even the scale.  The rule of thumb is this, assuming you have a grandma you love and respect, don’t post anything you wouldn’t share with your grandma.

Here are some simple questions to use as guidelines when using social media:

  1. Nothing you post on the Internet is private.  This is also true for what others post about you. Strong security settings are important, but do not guarantee complete privacy.  Consider this rule before you post pictures, political views, opinions, etc.  Would you be okay with your boss, grandma, or pastor seeing them?
  2. Your behavior outside of work now can now influence your job.  Ask any Human Resources person what the first steps of the hiring process are.  You will hear that Google, Twitter, and Facebook searches are used to evaluate you.  If you already have a job, your public personal life is a reflection on your employer.  Your employer will always keep this in mind.
  3. The internet is called the world-wide web for a reason.  It reaches further than any of us could have dreamed.

Although wide use of the internet is fairly new, it is like a history book. Everything we do is recorded and easy to find.  If used appropriately, it can be the most positive tool for our careers and reputations.  If abused, small mistakes can write destructive chapters.  In the book of world history, how do you want to be remembered?  For what would you like to be known?


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