It doesn’t matter how much you think you aren’t because you are. It doesn’t matter how much you think your personal life should be private because it isn’t. Welcome to the age of social media where everything you do online is public and your reputation is on the line 24/7.
We are in the age of social media and it is here to stay. What you do online will be there forever and the way you present yourself is critical to your long term reputation. You are your own brand and your brand is you, whether you like it our not so get used to this realization. The age of social media has allowed people to stay connected with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you are constantly building or destroying your reputation. Therefore, the way you present yourself online affects your relationships, future and reputation.
Social media allows individuals to post updates about their life, thoughts on their mind and even crazy cat videos to their personal connections and publicly. Thus with this openness of sharing information, social media has become a common outlet for people to share their views on controversial topics across their networks. These views often incorporate personal perceptions and commentary regarding topics varying from politics to spirituality. This openness of information sharing has allowed the free flow of ideas, which commonly results in online conflicts. These online conflicts aren’t a huge problem because you are entitled to your own views but their is an underlying issue. The information you post on social media spans far beyond your personal connections, as it reaches beyond your networks and it is archived online forever. Therefore, with this in mind it may be in your best interest to use social media with a filter.
I am not saying to share on social media with a filter because your view on a topic is wrong or that you aren’t entitled to freedom of speech. It just may be in your best interest to filter the information and commentary you post on social media for the respect of your reputation. As much as you feel your reputation is only affected during real life interaction, technology has made this real life interaction available online. Even if you don’t often think about your reputation being a big deal, understand that it is everything. As a good reputation will give you respect, trust and influence among your peers and colleagues. Therefore, now is the time to accept that your reputation is crucial and the fact that social media can destroy your reputation within minutes is extremely frightening.
At the end of the day, no one is stopping you from acting a certain way on social media but you need to think before you type. This is due to the fact, that your activity on social media can be accessed from people outside of your personal network. This should scare you because all though you feel you have a private network, there is always a way for people outside of your network to view your profile. Thus, act professionally online as you would in your work place or at the interview for an executive job position. This is important because your future employers will most likely access your social media pages when they are considering you for a job. Therefore, this pre-screening technique could potentially lose you a valuable opportunity or job because of your unprofessional social media usage.
In addition, it is important that you act professionally on social media because your information will be on the internet forever. Even if you delete a post or comment, that information has already been stored on archives thus it will never actually be fully deleted. Information, posted on social media and the internet will be accessible forever even if you think that delete button does the trick.
In conclusion, the best way to represent yourself on social media is by understanding that your reputation and future is on the line. You need to act as professional brands act on social media; with professionalism, respect and longevity. So the next time you are on social media remember to give yourself a positive reputation by giving your social feed a positive representation.
If you want to learn how to promote yourself on social media check out my digital marketing blog post here.