Safe Social Media Practices

Think before you post!

Most people’s social network circles have hundreds of connections, everyone from your mom to your boss. The availability of hashtags in most social media platforms allows your post to be searchable and these two factors allow social media blunders to quickly go viral.

Anything you post on the internet is permanent, even if you delete it. With social media, your primary obstacle when you want to retract a post containing statements and images you no longer want to share   are screenshots. When a controversial post is published, it is pretty easy to tell that it will create a spectacle and will likely be removed curtly, so many people have caught on to this trend and take screenshots to share.

Your social networks are the online equivalent of your personality – says a lot about you. It’s your personal BRAND. When someone looks at your networks, your friends and your posts they form a mental picture based on the various values and qualities that are displayed through your posts.

Whatever is posted has a long shelf life, as a student we want to broadcast our active social life including partying, drinking, even use of illegal substances. It may be fine now, but these posts will likely affect the personal brand you want to achieve in the future.

If you have a professional online LinkedIn profile but have several networks that contained unprofessional content, this will counteract the overall effectiveness of the brand you are trying to achieve. A simple Google search displays instant links to your online profiles, a tactic usually used during the hiring process by employers today. The style and content of your profiles also says a lot about an individual.

For example, if you had a very detailed LinkedIn profile with a great description, extensive links and connections, this would tell a viewer that the owner of this profile is a hard worker, not lazy and likely has a lot of business connections, and understands the changing job market

A blog that is professional looking and is updated regularly with different content means the owner is diligent, a hard worker, responsible and creative.

The first thing most employers do when a resume is submitted is to do an online search for you on various social media networks, so make sure your online brand will not affect your professional online presence or ability to get hired.

The following are some tips to help you use social media responsibly:

  • ALWAYS think and reconsider before posting anything that may seem offensive, controversial or reflects negatively on you – Avoid posting anything you wouldn’t show grandma
  • Have a policy for each platform—what content you will post, who you are or are not going to follow, or who you allow to follow you
  • Keep personal social media such as Facebook private
  • Stay positive and never criticise, condemn or complain on social media. Written text can be easily misunderstood. Joking comments may be offensive and sarcasm may not be detectable.
  • Use proper spelling and grammar, avoid slang and swear words
  • Choose appropriate profile pictures- casual for Facebook, business for LinkedIn
  • Be very cautious about posting information about family members, children, colleagues, clients, vendors or partners. Be considerate of the people in your life, personally and professionally.
  • Don’t post anything amid a personal or professional meltdown. If you have a weak moment, and start posting something that is in anyway hurtful or involving personal emotions, that’s going to be the most visible across all different networks.
  • Monitor activity on your platforms regularly to ensure it stays consistent with your personal brand
  • Focus on the quality of your connections versus quantity


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