Archive for February, 2013

How to Keep Your Job AND Your Social Media Presence

February 27, 2013


We reach! People are losing their jobs because of social media. No longer just in the US/ UK – but right here at home. 

Trinidad and Tobago has had various examples in the past year of social media use negatively impacting the real, offline, lives of users. Whether it was that sad video of children being made to fight that made it to Facebook, the erratic tweets of political enthusiasts during the recent elections, or even the reporters that have lost their jobs/ are under investigation for “rants” on social media – FINALLY social media is having an impact on real life in T&T….or is it the other way around? 

Stop the madness people. Your real life IS your social media life. You take time out of your day to read blogs, check your Facebook accounts, follow trends on Twitter and Lord knows, you are viewing videos on YouTube – a site so popular it now impacts what makes it to Billboard’s top charts. 

So, you’re logging on to social media for about 30 minutes. Did not realize more than just your friends are there huh? Your boss is too smarty! According to Facebook research shared by technology trends site Mashable, worldwide, Facebook users spend 10.5 billion minutes each day surfing the site — and that doesn’t even include mobile use. Collectively, that’s nearly 20 years per day that people spend living online instead of offline. Do we REALLY think that this does not have an impact on real life? Guess what, your real life includes a job – and employers are starting to look more closely at what you are doing online and what that could mean for your offline behavior

And keeping your posting settings private…MEH! That’s not going to really help you in the long run. Got friends? The Caribbean is small, T&T is smaller. Someone is going to see that post that reflects your real life. Seen a screen shot posted this week? Yea…I thought so. 

Harlem shaking in your boots about that picture/video/post that you may not want your boss to know about aren’t ya? 

So is it possible to keep your job AND your social media presence? Yes (obviously). How? The advice isn’t too different from advice I shared three years ago:

  1. Don’t list your place of employment on your personal profile. What? Really? Yes. Why? Because this way it becomes a little easier for your company to distance itself from your statements. Before listing your employer you should seek their social media policy on this anyway – to review and be familiar with their tips and guidelines (even though these evolve). Even if you do NOT list your employer – your posts (as are all our offline/ real life actions) are often covered by your employee code of conduct and confidentiality statements. This tip has a downside. It can take away from building your professional brand – particularly if you are a newer job seeker. Consider posting your place of employment only on LinkedIn or professional sites that YOU DO NOT link your Facebook, Twitter or other more personal social media sites to.

  2. Don’t make your personal social media accounts your work accounts. This is a classic mistake. You reply to customer queries on twitter, correct wrong from your personal Facebook account or discuss work in forums with the view of protecting your company’s reputation. Courts in the US are trying to figure out if this is ok. As many view social media as the new water cooler. But in the lovely, breezy Caribbean, there’s no precedent set yet and…um…do you really want to be the guinea pig here? Unless you are authorized to do so or specifically required to via contract, avoid this. Refer queries about your company to your media relations/ customer relations/ PR department. 

  3. Don’t share anything via social media that you would not want your grandmother/ grandfather/ boss to know. Those pics of you taking a belly shot off the stripper at the last bachelor party you attended – maybe not such a good idea tagging yourself in it or worse – posting to TWITTER. Even with the strictest privacy settings, a screen shot can take your reputation down.

In summary? Be smart offline and be even smarter online. You will keep your job and your social media presence – no matter where you work.