WE’VE ALL SEEN it before: A new type of social media comes out, gains popularity, and before you know it we’re all flocking, convinced the new venue will help us to better market ourselves.
But then something strange happens. In the midst of writing about yourself in 140 characters or less on Twitter, updating your profile information on Facebook, or uploading your resumé on LinkedIn, some of us seem to get carried away by the social media train and forget where they are: On the Internet.
Everyone knows the potential dangers of posting too much personal information online—we’ve all seen or heard the stories of people losing their jobs, their relationships, and even their lives due to what they have posted online. But aside from that, there’s a number of annoying habits online that can brand you in a very bad light if you’re not careful.
All of those tweets about #slutproblems, #drunkgirlproblems, and #firstworldproblems might seem funny now, but to a potential employer, a teacher’s college, or a graduate school admissions committee, these Twitter trends reek of a lack of professionalism and maturity.
These tweets and status updates are not only promoting stereotypes, but they can label you as exactly what you’re retweeting—a slut, a girl that gets drunk all the time, or an over-privileged person whose biggest worry is having to go to the bank twice in one day.
Posting updates about how much you hate your job or your coworkers while you’re at work makes you look unprofessional, childish, and dramatic, and could be means for dismissal. Same thing goes for complaining about classmates, group members, or professors online.
Worse than the most idiotic of tweets is the constant bombardment of updates. Everyone has at least one person on their contact list who has all of their social media integrated. Not only are you forced to look at their senseless updates on Twitter, but their Tumblr feeds into their Twitter, their Twitter account feeds into their Facebook—and their Tumblr account feeds into their Facebook anyway.
Couple this with someone who finds it necessary to post updates regarding their every movement and food and beverage intake, and what you end up with are endless updates from multiple social media profiles. Not only is this incredibly annoying, but it gives the impression you have nothing better to do with your time than post meaningless dribble on every social media platform available to you. Not exactly the kind of person you want to hire or to attend your university.
Although it’s true you can protect your tweets from being public, few people choose this option, and with the crossover of social media, you are less likely to be able to protect your information. Twitter has recently made a deal to allow U.K.-based company Datasift access to all archived tweets since January 2010. It seems only a matter of time before companies start searching Twitter as well as Facebook to see whether you are employee material.
So, the next time you want to retweet some inane #[insertcharacteristichere]problem, take a moment to think about what you’re doing. Who knows, your future employer could be reading your tweets.