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Social Media and Your Job: 4 Things to Avoid

| Office Life

Feb 13 2014

You’ve probably done it before. It’s quite easy to do, and well, everyone else is doing it—venting on social media.

Whether you’re in a frustratingly long line at your favorite deli or you’re annoyed with someone in your social circle, the blank canvas of social media provides an extremely appealing way for all of us to vent. While expelling our negative thoughts and emotions may be a perfectly natural thing to do, you may want to resist the temptation to post it all over the internet.

Why? Because the internet is forever in a way that nothing else is. Not only can social media get you in to trouble with potential thieves taking advantage of your vacation posts to figure out the optimal time to rob your home, it can also get you in to serious trouble with your job.

Here’s a list of social media activities and behaviors to avoid whether you’re hunting for a job or invested in keeping the one that you currently have:

Avoid extreme personas: This is perhaps most important for those individuals looking for a new job as a survey conducted by found that 37% of employers use social media networks to screen applicants. With this percentage expected to rise, your social media behavior could definitely impact whether or not you get a job. With such in mind, it’s best to not have an extreme persona presented on social sites. Employers are using social media to see how applicants present themselves and whether or not they would be a good fit for the company culture. So what is an extreme persona on social media? As we each post status updates, pictures and more, we are each crafting a social image/persona. Often times, extremely lewd or inappropriate behavior is shown and celebrated – which is not the type of behavior that any employer would like.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all: The motto has never been more appropriate. Frustration and the venting that follows are natural parts of life. You aren’t always going to get along with every single person at work and you’re not always going to appreciate every boss you have. Still, it’s probably best to hold off sharing just how much you hate your coworker or how annoying your boss can be. You may not be Facebook friends with any coworker, or you may think that what you’re posting is simply not a big deal, but it’s important to remember that all it takes is a simple screen shot for others to be able to share proof of what you have stated and for the consequences of those words to shortly follow.

Watch your wording: Social media managers everywhere have learned this lesson. You have to be weary of the implications and arrangement of every word that you are posting or sharing with others. Remember that your words may be taken differently from what you originally meant when you leave room for ambiguity. Sometimes even tone can be greatly misread and an innocent comment can be greatly misconstrued to mean something much more menacing or negative.

Hold back from over-sharing: Whether personal or professional, over-sharing runs rampant on social media. Many may forget the extent of their reach and audience. It’s time to dial it down. Also, be careful not to accidentally leak any confidential company information through tweets, statuses or pictures. This is perhaps the fastest way to get in to trouble.

Ultimately, social media can be a great tool when it is used appropriately. As we see more employers scanning networks and more individuals getting in to trouble with how they use social media, we can all see just how important it is to use all social media networks responsibly, no matter what the privacy settings.

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