Too much information
While social media makes it easy to connect with people you know, it also makes it easier to connect with people you donâ€™t really know — and makes it easier to unintentionally share too much damaging personal information with them.
Think back to fourth grade. While the teacherâ€™s back was towards you, were you whispering to the classmate seated behind you? Or maybe you were passing notes? And then, oh no! The teacher calls on you and asks you to share what youâ€™ve been whispering. Or worse — your teacher takes your scribbled note and reads it aloud to the entire class. Would you have been mortified because the information just shared publicly was meant to stay private? Could you not have worried about it because it was something widely known, anyway?
This is the same perspective that should be applied to your personal social media platforms –Â for every post or tweet and private message, ask yourself: how would I feel if someone shared this to everybody?
Mishaps happen. In the case of Rep. Anthony Weiner, a simple Twitter typo broad-casted his intended direct message into a public tweet.
Social media, social gathering
What you say on social media platforms is the equivalent to what you say aloud to a crowded room. Everyone has the ability to read/hear what you are saying; even if they are in the â€œroomâ€ and listening passively. In an actual social gathering or event, would you talk about that zit on your butt or that nasty thing you do every morning?
In todayâ€™s socially-connected environment, the lines between personal and professional are easily blurred. For those who know you in a professional setting, you are seen as the spokesperson — the representative — of your company. Whether you like it or not, how you hold yourself — online and off — reflects that of your employer… and the clients you represent.
We need to consider more heavily: would you want you employer to see this? would you want your clients to see that? Would you be okay seeing this published in the media?
Professional and personal – use discretion
Social media is about being â€œsocialâ€ and a constant stream of conversation, and many people choose to share bits and pieces of personal information as a way for others to see the â€œrealâ€ person, and not the â€œprofessional prude.â€ What about your professional and personal life do you mind sharing to people you work with and those you consider as friends?
The extremities of what personal information you choose to share is also a reflection of what you stand for and the associated public image risks you are willing to take — activists and advocates may share deeper, slightly uncomfortable experiences to help paint a picture of issues that truly occur; tech and programming gurus may share more about their joys and frustrations with new codes and technologies to show they are innovative and open to evolving trends; and aspiring CEOs and politicians may choose to only share accomplishments and community events they attend to present a â€œwinnerâ€ and â€œcommunity-personâ€ image. Take some time and reflect on what your how “risky” you want to be, and what your sharing limits are.
Like â€œIRL,â€ choose what you share with discretion, and an understanding of how you want yourself to be perceived.
(image provided by and hosted on Masterfile; royalty-free)