TORCH TIP of the Week – Paychecks Don’t Come With First Amendment Rights: Do’s and Don’t of Social Networking

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As recent networking sites are on the rise you might want to re-evaluate the way you’ve been branding yourself on social networks, because that can affect your image as a professional. As many of you may be aware, many employers look at a potential hire’s social networking sites to take a deeper look at who they’re bringing onboard their company. People may think that this isn’t a fair deal, but in reality, if you put your information online you should know that it will be available to billions of people around the world, even if you make your pages private! Always keep in mind that you have friends, and those friends have other friends, who are probably connected to someone you know.

Having inappropriate information online can not only affect your image but can also cause you a job. According to AMNY, a study done last year shows that 8 percent of large companies have fired an employee for inappropriate social media related activities, and those numbers are predicted to rise. AMNY reports that in March 2009, a newly hired employee tweeted. “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.” To her surprise, her would be boss commented,  “I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” Suffice it to say, that job offer was rescinded! In September 2009, a woman applying for a manager position at McDonald’s wasn’t hired because she wrote on Facebook, “&^%# them nuggets!”  Just last month three NYC Public High School teachers were fired for having inappropriate communications with students on Facebook.

Surveys done by CareerBuilder in 2009 showed that more than one-third of employers that checked profiles said they had found content that disqualified a potential hire. The top reasons for disqualification being that the potential candidate had posted information about themselves; drinking and or using drugs, displaying inappropriate photographs, bad-mouthing their previous employer, and showing poor communication skills. When logging on to your social networking sites keep in mind that other people are taking a look at your pages and inappropriate content can not only make you look bad but can offend others as well.

Below are 10 Do’s and Don’ts for social networking that I hope will be useful to your evolution as professionals.

Do’s                                                                Don’ts

1. DO Create A Positive, Powerful Personal Brand Online 

Since social networking is on the rise you should have a social networking page to brand yourself, especially if you’re getting into the communications and arts field. You can create a name for yourself by blogging, creating an impressive following on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and constantly writing and commenting on issue pertaining to your field of work. This can be a strong asset to your job search and expanding your networks!

 

6. DON’T Use Tasteless Names on Social Networking Sites or Your Emails  

Names and emails including vulgar words or negative connotations are inappropriate, and once an employer sees that, your application is going to the trash. Using emails with your first and last name, or a few numbers in it are the best way to go.

 

2. DO Post Positive Pics Online 

Include pictures of you doing community service and engaging yourself in positive activities. This also includes making sure you have positive comments under your pictures.  Keep in mind that once you post up pictures people are able to copy them.

 

7. DON’T Engage in Online Conflicts 

Don’t argue with, verbally attack or threaten other people on their, other people’s, or your wall, tweets and or status. Remember anything you put in writing can come back to haunt you.

3. DO Use Ways to Cut Down Your Social Networking Time So you Have Time to Engage in Other Activities 

Social Networking is important but don’t get addicted to it! Take advantage of the various social media tools that are designed specifically to save you time. For example, sites like ping.fm, www.seesmic.com and www.tweetdeck.com help you by sending updates to multiple social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook.

Some sites–like atomkeep.com allow you to link multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts to one desktop application where you can post updates to all profiles, as well as view and respond to your friends’ posts.

Also, sites like futuretweets.com let you schedule updates in advance, so your tweets can be updated even when you’re not online.

 

8. DON’T Badmouth Your Previous or Recent Employers  

Badmouthing your previous or recent employer can cost you your recent and/or future job! Remember that when you work for a company or are a part of an organization you represent them in and out of the work environment.

4. DO Join Groups Selectively 

Different groups are created so people can connect with others that have the same interest, but how does it look when you’re in a group like  “I drink More Beer than Water”?

9. DON’T Forget Other People Can See Your Friends Too 

Make sure you ask your friends not to post any inappropriate pictures or comments about you on their pages or simply be selective about who you befriend – Unless you’ve opted to keep your friends list private, your friends can see the contacts you’ve made. So in addition to keeping your friends’ risqué pictures and comments off of your profile, be cautious about whom you friend and when.

5. DO Create Passwords that are Difficult to Figure Out  

With the constant rise of people’s social networking pages being hacked make sure you change your password every few months or use passwords with a mix of letters, number and symbols (if accepted) to make it harder for hackers to get into your accounts.

10. DON’T Let Out Personal Information In Public  

Its ok to tweet, comment, chat and discuss issues regarding business and trending topics etc. but limit posting information on your personal life — which can be a subject of major scrutiny by recruiters and hiring managers.

After you’ve read this take a look at your social networking pages and re-evaluate the way you’ve been branding yourself: and if you have any of your own networking tips leave a comment!

Stay tuned for next weeks Tip of the Week:  “How to Avoid being a victim of Hackers and Social Networking Fraud”

The information for this posting was gathered from the following sources: Careerbuilder.com, CUInfoSecurity.com, CNNMoney.com, AM New York


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