I was chatting to a friend this week who said she has made the unprecedented move of removing herself from Facebook. Shock horror, how could someone even think of such drastic action! Since doing so she said it has made her feel almost liberated though – instead of getting a daily feed of information from ‘friends’ she barely knew, she actually now speaks to real friends and even meets people – something fast becoming a thing of the past as social media takes over. This got me thinking about social media in the workplace – does it really help or is it a hindrance?
Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram… they have all become the norm in our lives, used to update the world on our movements at the click of a button. In the business world Linkedin has become a vital tool to make professional connections and join networking groups. Employers are also now looking for potential candidates on Linkedin – viewing their backgrounds and professional networks – it is easily accessible and a research tool to look at potential hires. People often forget though that other sites like Facebook and Twitter are just as accessible and can often be used to research people a little further – it’s hugely important that firms find candidates with the right personality and fit for their team, so will look to social media as a means to assess more than just skills and experience to work out their suitability to join the team.
Whether it’s looking at your Linkedin status, Facebook photos or Twitter feeds, your online presence may be more significance than you think. Even if your skills and experience from your CV match the job requirements exactly, prospective employers can use online information as a research tool and could help or hinder your chances of securing a role. Social media is unavoidable and important today, but it’s always good to consider your online image and how it may be viewed by an onlooker – most people have become too quick to post information online, showing little caution for privacy settings or regard for who may be watching their moves or feeds.
So while removing yourself from social media entirely may feel too much of a drastic move for you, do consider your online profile and who may be watching. With professional networks such as Linkedin, keep the content professional, and with other sites always be aware of who you are befriending or what you are posting. Consider the appropriateness of your photos online, who you join as a friend or contact, and the posts you publish – unprofessional content or bad language can damage your business credibility without you even realising. Check your privacy settings too, online media such as Facebook to keep in touch with friends on a personal level is of course important, but be cautious and aware of who is looking.