Social Media: How to Remain Professional but Still “Be You”
By: Toni-Ann Burke
Quotes Board Member
Social media is a complex and widespread phenomenon. In my generation, we have seen social media grow drastically from choosing who would be on your “top 8” on MySpace to sending 10-second videos on SnapChat. With social media on the rise, more and more of our personal information is becoming readily available to our family and friends, but we seem to forget that out potential employers also have access to these public entities. There are fool-proof ways to still express yourself on social media while maintaining professionalism.
- Social media is NOT your diary! – We are all guilty of “over-sharing” our personal information on the web without thinking twice, but maybe thinking twice is exactly what’s best! I completely understand that you want everyone to know that you went to TGI Fridays for happy hour to celebrate the end of finals but there are ways to display that tastefully. Instead of showing three empty margarita glasses (assuming you are over 21 and drinking is a legal activity), maybe take a picture of the food you had or take a selfie with your server. You can still have fun with your posts!
- Add variety. – Just because it is called “social” media doesn’t limit you to only posting about social endeavors. Remember, your page should be all about you! Go ahead and brag a little! Did you recently get accepted into the nursing program at UCF? Did you pass your dreadful final exam? Are you now on the executive board of an organization? Let people know! Doing so not only adds the professionalism to your whole online presence but it shows everyone that you actually are more than a selfie-taking millennial. Not to mention, employers will appreciate the effort.
- Be cautious as to what you are liking, sharing and commenting on. – Social networks like Facebook and Instagram both notify the public on your activity. Many times other people can view pictures you have liked without you even knowing. Although you may not be posting malicious or inappropriate content yourself, clicking “like” associates you with that post. So just be careful and remember people are always watching.
As a young professional, I have learned that the internet has a way of making the world seem a lot smaller than it actually is and social media is an excellent and convenient way of connecting with loved ones, publicly. As Director of Communication of Quotes, the PR Club at UCF for the fall semester, it is my goal to post relevant news and trending topics that can impact students’ online presence positively. I will encourage them to tweet, snap, and Instagram their hearts out, along with reminding them that first impressions are everything.