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Social Networking Do’s and Don’ts

Social Networking Tips

Teenagers today are probably better versed in the etiquette of the social online community than we are. They have grown up with it. They use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and whatever the hell else they’re using today that we’ll know about tomorrow – before we ever heard about it.

But they are still kids, and we all know kids do and say stupid things. Us older guys said the same words; we pulled the same stunts. All of it, though, is long forgotten – as it should be.

“You’re fat and stupid,” I might have told a sworn fifth grade enemy, and he might have responded back, “Well, at least I don’t have red hair.” Today, neither he nor I would remember those words that long ago evaporated into thin air. Either way, hardly anybody else would have heard it.

When I was in college, I might have been photographed passed out on my bed fully clothed after a long night of carousing, but if that photo was developed, it only would have passed through the hands of a few snickering friends who might have tacked it on the bulletin boards in their apartments. Either way, hardly anybody would have seen it.

That doesn’t happen for the youth of today.

Social Networking Do's and Don'ts

Social Networking Do’s and Don’ts

These days, fifth grade enemies could post their insults on their respective blogs for the whole world to see. These days, that sleeping college student’s picture would be posted on Facebook for all the future employers of the world to view.

Thing is, the youth will adapt, because they’re so immersed in the social media scene. They’re stupid now, but they’ll get smarter. Perhaps you’re not as web-savvy, and potentially, that’s a problem, especially if you’re trying to find a job and don’t realize you have leftover Internet baggage.

With that, we present the three do’s and the three don’ts of using social networking to find a job. Presenting the lists are Chris Bergman, who consults with Fortune 500 companies on social media and mobile strategies, and C. Trent Rosecrans, the part-owner and the founding member of Cnati.com, an online sports journalism website in Cincinnati.

Social Networking Do’s and Don’ts

How you should be experiencing social media if you’re looking for a job:

  1. Meet people. Tweeting and blogging in your home office are not the way to use this platform to find a job. Instead, you have to be willing to step away from the virtual world and into the real world every once in a while. Says Bergman, “Social is not just on the web. Go to tweetups and social media events. You never know who you’ll run into.”
  2. Don’t be offended. The web isn’t necessarily a two-way street. Sometimes, it’s a one-way boulevard, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re following a potential employer on Twitter? Don’t expect a follow in return. Instead, interact and engage in conversations with them to gain their trust and respect. Maybe, then, they’ll follow you in return.
  3. Be passionate. If social media are another variation of your resume, paint yourself in the best possible light. Are you excited about health care reform? Blog it. Are you excited about your photographic display at the local coffee shop? Tweet it. Are you excited about your new coupons blog? Have your friends become fans on Facebook.

How you should not be experiencing social media if you’re looking for a job:

  1. Stay away from discussing politics and religion. It’s probably what you’d avoid in the company of somebody you just met and you’d certainly change those subjects during a job interview. Don’t talk about why you love Barack Obama or why you think he sucks. Don’t talk about Jesus or Budda or Zeus. These are topics for true friends, not for those you just met on Facebook.
  2. Don’t be a phony. This ties into No. 3 on the above list. If you’re passionate, let your passion shine through. If you’re apathetic, don’t bother. “Don’t be fake,” Bergman said. “People can smell it a mile away.”
  3. Don’t simply talk about yourself. Be a giver. If you self-promote endlessly, you’ll antagonize. Instead, give some publicity to your friends’ projects. Bergman cites the 80/20 rule for social media – 80 percent should be sharing and 20 percent should be about you. I think it should be more like 60 percent others and 40 percent you, but we can agree on this: 100 percent you is not helpful.

Rosecrans, meanwhile, leaves us with this in regards to conducting yourself in the social media world. It goes back to the differences between the you of today and the you from elementary school:

“Remember in grade school when they talked about your permanent record?” he said. “Well, it was bull then, but it’s real now. Everything you do or say on the Internet can come back to haunt you. Use your words wisely – and it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on libel law. Even under an assumed name, don’t ever say anything or post anything that you wouldn’t want to come back to you in a job interview.”