19 Oct Personal Vs. Professional: What Does Your Social Media Look Like?
Let us run around the age old conversation that has stood the test of time (if by time you mean the last 10-15 years). Now I know this is not a new topic and has been spoken about many times over, however I wanted put my two cents in and tell you a little about how it can affect us.
Ahh yes, the good old social media platforms that give us a way to connect with those we know and concurrently promote our own work (as I’ve often bothered you all with). What I wanted to talk about however is how it is affecting my life as a university graduate as well as those who are looking to go into or who are already in the workforce.
It’s very much a game of personal versus professional when it comes to social media. While it is a great way to talk about how much fun it was going out last Friday night it is simultaneously a place that employers frequently go to seek new staff. Welcome to the 21st century.
Different apps/ social media sites can be used for different things. In the same way that you wouldn’t post about personal events on LinkedIn you also wouldn’t Snapchat a company to ask for a job. Basically it’s a matter of picking your battles. The thing to remember is that with Google and its abundance of information, simply searching your name can tell an employer a lot about you.
Let me look at some of the major social media platforms a little closer and tell you what I think they’re good for (and what I use them for), just in case you’re not quite sure about that balance.
We’ll start with Facebook. This one for me is a little difficult, it’s the perfect place to share pictures with your friends and write a quick status about the pizza you just ordered but it’s also a good place for self-promotion (as I’ve done on many occasions) and is also easily accessible to potential employers and therefore an easy way to find out a lot about you. Facebook for me is a balance of sharing funny/ interesting videos and photos while also promoting the work I’m doing.
Instagram. This can lead to a career in itself. We’ve all heard of the Instagram celebrities, however not all of us are that lucky. Although that doesn’t mean we can’t introduce a work-life balance into Insta. Personally, for me, my account is quite work based. I’ll share my work, post about events I’ve been invited to and generally run with the theme of ‘career’. This worked in my benefit recently, where a company was advertising a position, I commented on the picture advertising said position and was then able to send them through my resume. This was a rare situation but it worked very much in my favour. Instagram is a fine line though, I guess it’s just the theme/ aesthetic you want to go for.
Twitter. I think Twitter is a fantastic platform to promote yourself professionally. I rarely post on Twitter unless it’s to promote this blog and I find I use it more for keeping up to date with the world around me. However, having been a part of TweePR, a PR/ Marketing group at the Queensland University of Technology, we frequently (and still do) take advantage of the business benefits of Twitter.
Snapchat. The baby of the social media platforms. Now a world away from the likes of Bebo\ and MySpace… let’s move on. Snapchat for me is more personal, I don’t see the connection between business and Snapchat unless you’re talking about Forever21 and the like, who do use the app in a professional capacity.
I do believe you have to pick and choose where you want to post your information. Anyone can see what you post (which is why you should check privacy settings) and of course, it is the internet, so once something is posted online it never really goes away. This article is really just a courtesy post to remind people that there are very few businesses who don’t use social media nowadays and that they will, 9 times out of 10, check up on you via the internet.
The argument for and against the use of social media is age old and will continue to grow and evolve for many years to come. It’s The Great Tech Debate all over again, and honestly there’s no real answer to it, just formula’s that tell you what that particular person/ company thinks you should do.
Honestly, I say just be you. People appreciate authenticity. Maybe just consider where exactly you want to post those photos from that girls’ night out on the town a few weeks’ back, but definitely don’t lose your personality just because you’re worried about an employer checking up on you.
Words by Nicole Dickson
Photo Links Below:
– Facebook Job Application: http://www.eremedia.com/tlnt/more-employers-not-hiring-due-to-what-they-find-on-social-media/