Checking your look in the social media mirrorBy Fiona Lucas | May 07, 12 08:46 AM
What image are you projecting?
Every smart Business Chick knows that appearances count. You wouldn’t step into the boardroom in your tracky dacs, or meet a client with your hair in curlers now would you?
Looking after your online reputation is just like checking your look in the mirror before you head out. You have to like what you see and be happy with the look you are presenting to the world. The Social Media mirror can often reflect a totally different image and the online world is much harsher place with a phenomenally long memory. Your best friend might forgive that you got a bit tipsy at her birthday. She even got a laugh out of the photos of you falling headfirst into a bush in your mini skirt; however future employers or clients may not find it so amusing.
It's becoming increasingly common for employers to run online checks on prospective or current staff to ensure that the company is being well represented. I’m sure you’ve often Googled someone you've recently met to see what you can learn about them? Or looked them up on Facebook? It’s not hard to find information these days. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, online communities, gaming rooms – your information can be captured anywhere and comments you make quickly forwarded.
So time for a spring clean of your online wardrobe.
Open the drawers. Time to have a look inside – Google yourself. Then use Bing, Yahoo and Facebook as well. Each search engine can bring up different results. Make sure you check through the pages.
Declutter. Take the time to go through your photos on Facebook and Flickr making sure you remove, or at least untag yourself from photos which show you in a less than flattering light. Saying cheers with a glass of bubbles is ok here and there, but if every photo has you with a glass you might be seen as having a problem. You can only remove photos that you have uploaded, so if the photos belong to someone else ask them if they'd kindly remove them. At the very least untag yourself so they don’t show up in searches so readily.
Clean undies. Your Mummy always said make sure you are wearing clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus! We never really got that at the time but, as usual, Mummy was right. Make sure that you remove any comments or rants that may have seemed ok at the time, but looking back, place you in a bad light. You don’t want stains on your character.
Coordinate. So now that you have thrown out the items you don’t want to 'wear' anymore, it's time to set a few ground rules. Talk to your friends and agree between you that you won’t tag each other in photos without permission, or at all. You should be the only one deciding if you are tagged in a photo. Make sure you don’t overshare information. Think about what it is you are sharing and why you are sharing it, BEFORE you share it.
Dont be a slave to fashion. Taking all that has been said in context, it's important to be authentic and yourself. As a rule politics, sex and religion are topics we avoid in public. Think about the industry you are in. If you work in a very conservative environment you might need to be more careful than someone who works in the film or music industry. Try and weigh up whether what you post online could go against the culture of your industry. Careers can be destroyed by a badly thought out tweet! It's possible to set up groups and lists so that you can target who you are sharing information with.
Check your hair and makeup. So one last look in the mirror before you make that post or tweet that picture! If you're not sure about something you posted, have a close friend read it and see what they think.
Go out and have fun: So you are all dressed up and ready go. Tightening up your privacy settings to a point is a good thing – you don’t need your date of birth, address and phone number out there for all to see. However going overboard on privacy is not a good thing either. When a prospective client or employer searches for you (just like when you Google that cute boy you met) they want to find something. Having a totally private profile with no information can make you seem to be hiding something. Your prospects want to know you have some personality.
Happy spring cleaning!
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Fiona Lucas is the Founder of Socially Skilled Social Media Marketing consultancy. A Social Media Strategist, Educator, & Speaker specialising in online reputation management, Fiona is passionate about helping others to understand the power of social media and the importance of developing and modelling good social media etiquette habits.