Social Media Suggestions for Keeping Your Professional Communication Professional
There’s an undeniable overlap between personal and professional communication on social media. Whether it’s having one YouTube account that you upload both personal and company-related videos to, sharing with friends, family and colleagues on Facebook, or some other overlap between your personal and professional world.
Below, some tips for managing the chaos that can potentially erupt when those professional and personal worlds collide online.
If you use Facebook, try to keep friends separate from colleagues.
There are a few ways of doing this. One, you can try adding specific contacts to their own lists within the Friends area. Then, when you’re ready to share an article or a status update, you can be selective in who sees the message. Another way is to not “add” work colleagues to your Friends list. Instead, you can join discussion groups that they belong to, or add them to groups you manage, as a way of connecting without giving them access to your inner circle.
Be judicious in what you share.
Anything that might be considered inappropriate content should be avoided. At the very least, you can customize the audience who views whatever more racy items you may wish to post online. A better practice, though, would be to keep raunchy jokes, potentially offensive language, and more topically charged discussions to email. The recent political arguments that have erupted on Facebook and other social media hangouts have definitely left a less-than-stellar impression for many. If you intend to foster professional relationships on Facebook, then it’s probably best to live by that intention by not being too personal or controversial there.
Don’t post pictures of your family if you “friend” people you don’t know very well.
Some people only add friends to Facebook if they’ve met them in real life or know them enough to find them trustworthy. Other people add anyone they “meet” online, even if for just a few minutes on a chat forum or discussion group. This can be risky. At some point, you may want to stop sharing family photos with people you don’t know very well. If you unfriend, people may misinterpret this as you having negative opinions about them when in reality maybe you’re just wanting a little more privacy.
Avoid hot-button discussions.
Sometimes someone posts something controversial, a heated debate starts up and it’s almost impossible not to get sucked in. The danger of this is that online communication can be so easily misunderstood. People may read your meaning wrong, or perhaps they scanned the post and jumped to a conclusion that wasn’t correct or what you meant. The most effective online networkers tend to keep their remarks positive in a general sense. You may not get a real sense for their true opinion of things, but if you’re networking for professional purposes that shouldn’t even matter.
Don’t forget to read our other articles on cell phone use.