Paula Zobisch, PhD
Andree Swanson, EdD

Social media is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, maybe not. There can be benefits to using social media, but there can be pitfalls too. Especially if you share too much information and are not cautious about what you share. Posting about your puppy may be fine, even if your employer sees this, but posting that you got the great raise may not be so good.

 

We do love to keep up with our families and friends on social media. Many of us will discuss our problems or frustrations with other people in our postings. Beware what you are posting, though, because prospective employers are reading your messages. Are you having trouble meeting your bills? Was your auto recently repossessed? Prospective employers are increasingly more aware of your credit and may use this information when making a hiring decision.

Bennington (n.d.) wrote about a University of California student, nicknamed “Cisco Fatty,” who posted the following on social media. “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Needless to say, Cisco Fatty did not get the job after posting this comment.

Many years ago, mothers would tell their children… “Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the newspapers.” Nowadays, it would be safe to say… “Don’t do anything that you want to have blasted on social media.” It may be fun for people like Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, or anyone with star status to tweet or Instagram their latest selfie. However, remember, this is how they make money. They are marketing themselves… getting the millions of people to follow them. Consider how you use these sites. Would you want your employer to see what you post?

Herbert and Moneypenney (2015) state that employers “…judge the quality of your Linked profile (how many people have endorsed you for being strategic?) and the intellectual quality of your tweets (do you share articles from the Daily Mail or from Harvard Business Review?)” (para. 6).

After considering the information that we have researched, Dr. Zobisch and I created some hints for using social media.

  1. Create a personal Facebook page – be cautious what you post there. Would you want your grandmother or children to read it?
  2. Create a professional Facebook page – use this to share interesting items related to your field. Share posts on leadership, entrepreneurship, motivation, etc.
  3. Create a professional Linkedin page
  4. Conduct “proper research using social media to prepare for a meeting or interview” (Herbert & Moneypenney, 2015, para. 12).
  5. Have an unbiased second party review your social media sites and ask them for advice – Remember a second opinion might save your job!

Social media is a marvelous communication vehicle. Remember, though, that this blessing can also be a curse if not used with thoughtful application. What has been posted via the Internet and social media is going to stay in cyberspace for eternity – what do you want people to read about you?

References

Bennington, E. (n.d.). What to do when an employee violates your social media policy. Monster. Retrieved from http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/small-business/social-media-trends/social-media-guidelines.aspx

Herbert, B., & Moneypenney, M. (2015, January 28). Social media: Friend or foe? Financial Times. Retrieved http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7516ab06-a235-11e4-aba2-00144feab7de.html#axzz3wIA2UMAZ

 

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Paula Zobisch, PhD
Andree Swanson, EdD