While conducting my research into social media last year it became clear that many people don't view their online activities from a professional or personal image perspective. Some people will post a reasonably professional profile on LinkedIn but their Twitter account too often has problematic tweets and I think most of us are aware of just how problematic Facebook postings can be. Often I have seen profiles on LinkedIn that are fine but then the owner of that profile posts inappropriate content in groups or falls into the flame wars syndrome thus lessening the effectiveness of their profile. Other people post a profile on LinkedIn that is so poorly done that recruiters will pass them by quickly and they may then lose an opportunity at a job.
I follow a few people on Twitter who readily identify with the organization they work for but some of their posts are inappropriate for an online forum which alters the opinion of readers regarding the poster but also gives a less than stellar image of the company they work for.
The prevalence of swearing on all social networks is disturbing, not only are those words losing any real impact as they are repeated so frequently but they leave you wondering if the posters lack the ability to discuss or disperse their thoughts with some sign of critical thinking.
I read the link to Justin Goldborough's blog (http://justincaseyouwerewondering.com/2011/05/08/the-growing-need-for-a-tact-counselor) which coincided with a discussion I had this weekend regarding the need to teach people how to handle themselves online. The problems cited included my points above but also pointed out that among the high school, college and university crowds social networks have become another source of bullying and the serious mental health issues that arise from this. The conversation also covered the perhaps surprising results that many well educated professionals make mistakes online as well. When I think back over similar discussion over the past year and the increasing number of workplace disciplinary actions or firings over online postings it is clear that a much stronger focus needs to be put on this topic for everyone.
Inappropriate posts on any social networking site or blog comments section can derail a career, deny you admission to the post secondary school of your choice, get you fired or find you the target of a lawsuit. In many cases you may not even know that you were passed over for a job, promotion, contract or school because of something on a social networking site as the people researching these will simply eliminate you without telling you why.
I am offering a Professional Social Networking Profile consultation (Spring Promotion is $50 or a group rate can be negotiated for groups of 12 people or less) to help registrants develop a professional profile and clean up any online data they may already have. This is not a course on how to use social networks from a technical or marketing standpoint but how to present a positive image for you online.
If you or someone you know are interested in registering for this consultation or wish to arrange a group session in the Vancouver area please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.