Avoid Internet Career Embarrassment – Dos and Don’ts for Social Networking

Posting on Social Media Networks

Particularly in connection with your current employment and future employment, you must be very careful what you post on social media networks such as MySpace and Facebook. More and more potential employers are checking out these sites and others such as LinkedIn before offering interviews to potential employees.

From an employer’s point of view this makes good sense. If an employer finds a compromising picture of you that you have posted on the web, he/she will think twice about entrusting you with company knowledge. What might you post about the company – photos and all?

The grey area is not compromising pictures (such as scantily clad photos) but photos that show you having fun (okay, drinking and partying) with your friends. There are fun photos and there are other kinds of fun photos.

One social media network that has good privacy settings is Facebook, which has several levels of privacy settings for various pieces of personal information. On Facebook your profile can only ever be seen by a very small percentage of all the people on Facebook. This statement is not true for all social media networks.

You can even block an official friend on Facebook from seeing all of your profile by using a privacy option called limited profile. (This means you can be a friend with your boss and still block her from seeing certain things on your profile.)

This seems a viable middle ground solution for those who don’t want to forgo putting any fun pictures on the internet. There are still some risks – for example, if you decide to change certain settings on Facebook you can unknowingly automatically reveal this blocked info.

Before putting fun photos of yourself on the internet, the first rule of thumb should be to find out which sites prevent anyone (such as a potential employer) from looking at your profile without your knowledge. That should be the number one criteria for where you put your photos.

The second rule of thumb should be – if you do put fun photos on a social media network that allows you to block unwanted views of your profile, be sure you read all the instructions for this blocking feature carefully. You don’t want to accidentally remove the blocks just when you’re up for an interview for a job you really want. And, oh no! – the potential employer has just seen that photo of you dressed as a Martian and chugging a beer. (And, again, give considerable thought to what kinds of fun photos you post.)

When You Should Take Part in Social Media Networks

The other side of the coin is if you’re an employee of a company that has an internal social media network. Then you must be sure to post helpful comments and suggestions on the site. If you don’t do this, you may be overlooked for good assignments and for promotions.

Yes, you may be uncomfortable going to company parties or company picnics. But there’s no need to be a wall flower or missing in action on a company’s internal social media network. Go ahead and add content to let your colleagues learn about you.

Of course, as always, make sure that what you add is appropriate.

The Risks of Blogging and Your Career

Thoughtless blogging can also get you in hot water. There’s a tempting feeling of security that you’re really just writing for yourself. The fact that anyone in the world, literally, can read what a blogger has just written for himself or herself may fade into the background as you’re typing away on your keyboard.

It is very important to realize that anything can be taken the wrong way. You can have controversial opinions if you respectfully offer them. But it’s important to really hear what you’re putting out there. (You can write in anger, but do NOT post in anger.)

You obviously need to be blogging when you’re not at work (unless you’re getting paid to blog). But even when blogging on your own time, you still need to be very careful of the rules regarding revealing information of any company for which you’re working. And do not talk about other people or your workplace on your blog without getting permission.

When considering what topics are safe to blog about, the best advice is that which is good for many offline situations – when in doubt, don’t.

If you plan to rant and rave on your blog about having to make the coffee AGAIN, make sure that you haven’t identified the company in this post or any previous post (or future post). And, in fact, maybe forget complaining to the world about making coffee. Better to share your thoughts about world peace – or some equally universal topic.

The most important brand to you is your own brand. Put it online respectfully and in appropriate networks.

Last 5 Articles Added By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

About Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a National Internet Business Examiner at http://budurl.com/internetbusiness and the president of http://www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which provides internet marketing information to help promote your brand, book or business. On July 1st the company will launch the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program. Follow Phyllis on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller

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