PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Social Network Separation Is Bad

One thing I see more and more often is students who use different social networks for different reasons. For example, using Facebook for a crazy college lifestyle and keeping a professional blog. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.

You’re findable

Even if you’ve changed your name on Facebook or use some kind of alter ego for other social networking profiles, don’t risk it. Here are some stats from an MSNBC article I want to throw out:

“According to a March survey by Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank, 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections, according to the survey.”

When it comes down to it, there are many more applicants to any one job, so don’t hurt your chances by taking a risk online.

profiles

Linking up

When I put up the new design on my blog, I added my Facebook profile badge. Before, I always thought Facebook was for my personal friends because I have personal information on there, but isn’t that the case with any social networking site you’re part of? Now, I’m open to networking on any of my profiles. Once you get over the initial “I want to post something really inappropriate” hill, it’s not so bad and helps your reputation in the long run.

Remember when Facebook changed and everyone thought it looks like Twitter? And Friendfeed‘s recent makeover to make it look more like Twitter? I think social networks are going to continue to converge (to some extend). Networking professionally on one site but avoiding conversation on another just plan looks bad.

Choose one side

When Facebook opened up to more than those with a .edu address and I started getting friend requests from professionals, I quickly learned about the importance of keeping a professional online profile — no matter what you’re using.

I recommend choosing one side; there’s no point of using some sites professionally and some sites for fun. This, of course, brings up the question of authenticity: do you have to show a different personality that who you really are? Not at all — just keep your illegal habits out of sight.

Be smart

I’m sure many of you already know what you put online is open for anyone to view. I just want to emphasize how important it is to be consistent and clear with your social networks. You never know, it might end up helping you get a job.

So, do you use different social networks for different reasons? Why? Do you think college students should be in a different category since they will be looking for jobs? All thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Photo by M. Keefe on Flickr.

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Filed under: Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Samantha says:

    Very good article, and is much needed.

    I’ve never quite understood the posting of drunken party night pictures on Facebook to begin with. Would you go to a party with friends (or family for that matter) and brag (verbally) about how much you got wasted? Then why do it on Facebook?

    I had to go through a security interview for my last internship and the last question he asked was, “Is there anything on Facebook and other sites that will boast a sour opinion of you?”

    At the end of the day, you cannot expect to land a killer job or internship with incriminating pictures and comments posted on various web sites. It just doesn’t work.

  2. Sheema says:

    While I agree that it’s not a good idea to try and separate social networks, I think it’s easier said than done. I use Facebook as a way to keep in touch with my friends from all over the world- I don’t have any drunken pictures or anything, but I don’t necessarily want professionals looking at conversations that could be taken out of context or may seem stupid/immature/give a bad impression of me. That’s why I think the friend’s list option on Facebook is great- the ability to pick & choose what you want professionals to see while still having that freedom with friends.

  3. Thank you for keeping this issue out there! I honestly think students think of “recruiter facebooking” like a car accident- it will never happen to me. From first hand experience, I’ve actually logged on to my facebook so my boss could screen an interviewee during work hours.

    I do have my privacy settings extremely high on facebook, but I still have my profile linked to my blog for extended connections. I don’t really have anything to hide, but I do it just in case.

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