Social media has become a part of most people’s daily lives. Whether staying connected with friends and family, making new connections, playing games or looking for a job, it has become an indispensable tool for both business and pleasure.
The dark side of all this is that social media has made privacy a thing of the past, while at the same time lulling us into a false sense of anonymity, as though all the unflattering pictures, drunken rants and inappropriate banter on our social feeds are somehow safe from those we would not want to see it.
One particularly tricky area is social media and our jobs. The reality is that our online activities can be subject to scrutiny by our current or potential employers, and in extreme cases, can cost employees their jobs.
Here are 5 big no-no’s when it comes to social media and your job:
- One mistake is not knowing what your online “reputation” looks like. If you have been online and involved in social media for any length of time, then you have an online presence, and it is a good idea to know what that looks like. If you haven’t already done so, Google yourself.
- Don’t talk badly about your company, boss or co-workers on your Facebook, Twitter etc, not to mention that it would be nice not to do it in any other context. Even if you aren’t online “friends” with your fellow employees it doesn’t mean you are safe. People have lost jobs because of this, so don’t risk it. In fact, it is better if you don’t “friend” your co-workers at all.
- If you call in sick, don’t go on Facebook bragging about your latest shopping trip or fun day at the beach. It may bite you in the you-know-what.
- This should go without saying, but don’t ever, ever reveal any kind of sensitive or privileged information about your company, its employees or its clients. Not only will something like this get you fired, it could also get you in trouble.
- Stay off of social media while at work, especially on the company computer. If you are on break and want to check your Facebook, do it on your phone. Most employers have software that lets them know what you are doing online. It’s unprofessional and makes you look bad.
One last tip: If you have searched yourself and aren’t happy with what you see, the best thing to do is start creating a more positive online presence. It is nearly impossible to erase what is already online. Creating a strong LinkedIn profile, and keeping active on that network can be helpful.