As a communications professional on social media I am always evaluating how both companies and individuals manage their brand. However, many individuals do not even know that they have a brand. And this is fine–you don’t have to focus on building or creating a brand if that is not something of which you find of interest or useful. On the other hand, you should at least be aware that you are leaving a (sometimes permanent) social media footprint behind.
Here are a few footprints you DON’T want to leave in the sand.
Hey, its a rough and tumble world. Why not? I mean, a whole lot of very powerful people seem to do it. Yes, you’re right. But think about it for a moment. Did they begin their career lacing their public commentary with expletives before or after they were famous or powerful. What is their background? Also, how much does the use of coarse language fit into the brand identity they have formed? It is always best on social media to err on the side of caution. Because, one day you may not always be employee no. 1248, boxing widgets or the guy in cubical 55 at the end of the hall. The trouble with social media, is that it doesn’t really have a shelf-life, and it can exist in what may seem perpetuity. So be careful with expletives, coarse language, or vulgar euphemisms.
If you’re thinking about a brief career as an Instagram model while you work your way through medical school, think again. You might want to hold back on posting or posing for “the Gram.” There are some body parts, apart from your brain for which you might not want to get famous. Also, remember, if you’re posting photos of your children, significant other, household goods, home or other possessions–consider the fact that you might be advertising to a potential criminal or stalker. Yes, someone out there may be cooking up plans to put the kabosh on your party! Also, be aware of posting photos to semi-private social media sites like SnapChat, Whatsapp, or even good old fashioned text messages. While you might think your photos are only being shared with your sweetie or your pal Mike, those photos could end up anywhere if the recipient has the inclination to take a screen shot. So what was suppose to be five seconds of “Hahas” becomes an internet meme, with you in a bathrobe saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Negativity and Nay-saying
Yes, I know. There are some of us out there who just like to, “tell it like it is.” It’s a real phenomena, some people just like to be blunt, rude or sarcastic. In some cases it can be hilarious–especially among a group that appreciates the sentiment. But what happens when that nay-saying gets beyond the confines of your tightly knit group? Suddenly your complaints about the new president, your boss or the lady from room 1B become the talk of the town. And if we are mindful of the longevity of the internet, we know that what might have been the prevailing mood in one decade might suddenly be the bane of another. So think quick. Try not to share a lot of negativity, complaining, and general trash talking over social media.
There are plenty more gambits for you to scale in social media, but these are a basic three. Remember, it’s always your choice what to put it online. You don’t have to do it. You have total control before you post, comment or hit send. So take a minute or two to consider whether you actually want to share before you do!