"That's a little hateful, but I'm sure some will appreciate my point of view."
May 12, 2015
Millennials spend nearly 18 hours a day on social media, according to a article from Entreprenuer.com. And while many spend that amount of time on social media, most don't consider the lasting effects one post could have on them. If you're using your social media accounts that often, the internet is bound to be filled with all sorts of information about you. Whether you believe it or not, what you post may come back to haunt you. Is it possible to still have fun with your friends on social media, but not hurt your career or personal online brand?
Cassandra, an expert from Verizon offered her thoughts, “I teach a class and tell students all of the time that the internet has an incredibly long memory and forgets nothing. Keeping this statement in mind, remember that you'll have a long career and may decide to be in the public eye in your future and information that you've posted could come back to haunt you.
It's suggested that you only post items that you wouldn't mind your parents or your favorite granny seeing if your information were to be broadcasted on the 7 o'clock news. You can totally have fun but keep in mind anything you post (or anything your friends post and tag you on) is not private and any potential employer, volunteer organization, family (present and future), etc. could access that information. In sum, use your best judgment when using any social media outlet at any stage in your life or career.”
Whenever you’re about to post something on social media it’s wise to take Cassandra’s advice. While it more than likely seems innocuous at the time, any thing that could be seen as negative probably shouldn’t be posted. If there is something that is simply too funny, witty, or filled with ire send it to your friends in a group text message instead. If you are a particularly snarky person it might be worth your time to create a parody account, that leaves you as the author anonymous. This could allow you to post the things you’d like to say on social media freely without it being associated with who you are professionally.
Steve from Caterpillar points out that recruiters try to respect the boundary between professional and personal social media channels. “Social media is always tricky. Whether we like it or not, we all have a digital profile and have to be conscious of that when we post things on these sites. That being said, most recruiters will differentiate between professional social media (i.e. LinkedIn) and personal social media (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
Where you have to be careful is if you post something that causes these lines to become blurred. Posting opinions, pictures of friends, etc. is fine, but where it can become troublesome for you is if you post something that someone might believe could impact your professional life (i.e. use of alcohol, etc.). This can come into play through the use of newer tools that search the internet for your entire digital footprint.”
The truth is by the nature of Search Engine Optimization if you make a post that receives any kind of notoriety amongst your friends, it could easily find its way into a search of your name. So while most recruiters try to see the difference between something like LinkedIn and Facebook, if they can easily find a post it will most certainly affect their views of you. If you’ll notice most big name athletes and professionals refuse to be photographed with alcohol around them, purely because a photo’s context is projected onto it by the viewer.
Before you hit send, consider what the professional repercussions could be. Be smart about the things you post and remember that anything can be taken out of context. It will most certainly help to maintain professionalism on more professional platforms, but it is also wise to ponder the consequences of an ill placed Tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram photo. Happy posting!