By Andrew Osegi
The content published on our personal social media accounts can impact our offline life in ways most of us are already familiar with. Based on how it’s curated, a simple photo on Facebook can be a wonderful, sharable experience or an unwelcomed update that friends, family and employment would rather not see.
In this blog, I’d like to touch on what to post, share or update based on personal goals. Managing an online presence can be a confusing challenge if personal content—a blog, a comment or a video with your name attached to it—is unstructured or without strategy. Do not consider the following as a step-by-step guide on what not to post, but rather a personal reflection on the use of social media.
Who Are You and What Are You Trying to Do?
This is one of the many questions we should ask ourselves, as social users, before posting something online. Social is a powerful tool, and, if used properly for the right job, it can be a valuable asset in strengthening relationships. Nevertheless, a user’s accomplishments depend on who he or she brands themselves to be.
Whether you’re a digital marketer representing your name and your brand, a recent graduate looking for your first full-time position or a family member just trying to stay in touch, social users should curate, or mold, their content in order to support their beliefs and end-goal—no matter the background or occupation.
In other words, our goals online need to reflect our goals in the real world. Share, like and comment on content that falls in line with not only your personal curiosities, but your professional interest as well. Retweet that interesting article you just read, or comment on that awesome NBA video in your feed, just make sure the content you interact with reflects who you are in reality. In turn, the visibility of the social web should do the rest, fostering connections with similar interest.
However, what others are able to see relies entirely on the user’s privacy preferences.
To better gauge what we should—and shouldn’t—post online, a strong familiarity with a social channel’s privacy settings is highly recommended. Our personal privacy parameters determine exactly who can see what, ultimately influencing what we share online. Users should use some degree of privacy protection to hide personal information from the public. The nature of web 2.0 and social media is to connect and share, but if users don’t want information to be known, it’s best to either strengthen your privacy setting or not post anything at all.
In a way, privacy allows more freedom by funneling shared content to a restricted audience—approved friends and family—rather than the public or future employers.
Who Are Your Followers?
Consider your followers when posting online. Depending on the individual, certain social platforms are more receptive to certain kinds of content. Facebook is a place for friends and family, whereas LinkedIn is more suited for professional thought and B2B communication. Where does a picture of your lunch belong? In terms of receptiveness, and appropriateness, Instagram might do the trick. Your followers are you audience. Treat them with respect; give them what they want, and the love will be reciprocated.
Keep it clean, folks. Lewd pictures, drunken vines or rants littered with profanity seriously compromise your online integrity. Keep the debauchery and F-bombs to yourself. Un-tagging yourself and editing any unintentional updates after a fun night out should be a top priority in protecting your online image.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation are also good indicators of the person behind the keyboard.
Humanizing, A Gray Area
It’s important to emulate your personality online to the best of your ability; after all, it’s not the content we’re drawn to, but the people behind it that make it interesting. Human transparency is an attractive quality in a social web full of automation and advertisement.
Indeed, users should be enthusiastic about sharing an opinion or experience, but we should also be mindful of what we share, how we share it and the far-reaching ramifications of our personal content.
Photo Credit: Jamie Henderson, Ed Yourdon