As you build your network, many people will get to know you online. It’s no secret that recruiters, organizations, and colleges often survey your social media accounts during the interview process. Your online identity– that is, what you say and what you share– is taken by many to be an accurate portrayal of your interests, activities, personality and even values. In this case, perception is reality. This is why it’s crucial to take a step back and objectively evaluate what your profile portrays about you. Here are a few tips for success on Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook: Facebook provides an extremely organized format for displaying information that may encourage “over-sharing.” I assert that you should do the opposite. In fact, I recommend that you consider deactivating your Facebook account. If you feel you must continue your FB presence in order to stay in touch, remember that you no longer have the choice of utilizing social media just for friends. If you do decide to keep your profile active, here are a few ideas on how to manage it:
The first thing you should do is change your security settings to make your profile as private as possible. Next, scrub the lengthy list of movies and music you like, and don’t post about superficial or controversial topics. Purge photos, except a professional profile pic. Join groups and engage on topics that reflect professionally appropriate interests. Another suggestion is to setup a Page in lieu of a traditional profile. Friends and family can still follow you for content, and you can promote yourself on Facebook. This option functions more like a Twitter feed with images.
Twitter: It’s easy to assume that because your Twitter bio is short, you don’t have the opportunity to say a lot. On the contrary, Twitter itself is an ongoing biography. So stick to the tips listed in my previous article, Networking via Social Media: Rules to Live By, and endeavor to craft a profile section that is an accurate and professional portrayal of your interests, activities, personality, and values. Look to the profiles of popular politicos and pundits as examples.
Additionally, I suggest against making your Twitter private. Facebook is for connecting with people you know, and Twitter is for engaging with people you don’t know yet. If you make your Twitter private, you limit the potential for building relationships and increasing your sphere of influence.
Finally, be careful what you share. Many millennials are social media savvy. In fact, our generation invented social media. However, when debates get heated, it’s easy to forget that the internet is forever. I alluded to this important point in my previous post: your wall posts and your tweets are your reputation. And, it’s about what you say and how you say it. The language you choose to convey your message should be clear, succinct and controlled. Remember, decorum should reign in your public persona.
Greta Pisarczyk is the Development Assistant at the Cato Institute.
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