My last semester of college officially started this Tuesday. Reality is really starting to hit home that this is the end, that despite how much I don’t want to accept it, I will soon be an “adult” living in the real world come the end of May. Recently, this realization has made me think a lot about what I want to do with my life and how I am going to get there. Half of my success will depend on how well I can present/sell myself to my future employers (which is the main reason I started this blog in the first place). But, how someone perceives the type of person you are doesn’t just depend on your face to face interactions. How you choose to present yourself through social media is just as important. This is especially pertinent to victims of my generation (and younger) who have been introduced to the God of Facebook in our vulnerable teenage years.
I know this probably isn’t the first time someone has told you this, but I am going to tell you again: once you post or publish something on the internet it is VERY hard to permanently delete it. There is always a possibility that someone out there will find it, no matter how hard you try to hide it. You wouldn’t want to lose your dream job or get kicked off your sports team because your clueless friend posted an indecent picture of you from last weekend, would you? This can happen and does happen all the time. Now I can go on and on about how to use Facebook “properly” but I actually want you to read this post so I will try to keep it short. Since my Facebook could use a makeover itself, here are a few tid-bits of advice that I am going to try to follow myself (and I hope you will join me):
*Most importantly: your profile picture. Pick this very carefully and just use common sense. Now, I am not suggesting that you need a boring, professional picture but let’s keep it neutral. You probably don’t want to be drinking, smoking, or half naked in this picture. I know it’s really tempting to use that picture from New Year’s in your itty-bitty black dress with your glass of champagne because let’s admit it, you looked pretty damn hot. But when push comes to shove, it’s not worth it. You look just as hot in your jeans and t-shirt at that last baseball game you attended.
*People can get an extremely good sense of who you are just by looking at your Facebook; it’s actually kind of scary. Post links and news that show off your (positive) interests, your professional expertise, or are related to a professional arena you wish to enter into one day.
*Keep your personal problems private! That girl you sat next to in math class that one time really doesn’t want to know about your most recent break-up or your family problems. The best way to communicate your personal problems to your best friends is to talk on the phone or in person about them. If you really need to use the computer, send a private e-mail or message.
*Believe it or not, your tone is important (even on Facebook). Don’t say things that you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in person.
*This may be self-evident but there are many people who still don’t get it: don’t be a stalker. Don’t friend people you don’t know or don’t have any connection to. If you want to friend someone you have never met before you should send a message along with your friend request explaining who you are and mention the name of a mutual friend.
*PLEASE, don’t post every single little thing you do or think about on your Facebook. No one, not even your best friend, cares that you woke up at 9, ate breakfast, went to the gym, showered, and is now getting a manicure.
*Don’t vent about work or someone else through your statuses or wall posts. There is a really good chance that someone you don’t want to see it will, even if your page is private.
*Facebook is a great way to communicate what is going on in your life in a matter of seconds. That being said, it shouldn’t replace actual communication. If a major event occurs in your life (a death, engagement, pregnancy) you should call up all the people closest to you and tell them first, then go ahead and let all your other Facebook friends know.
*Don’t break off a relationship over Facebook… just don’t do it.
*Respond to Facebook invites seriously. Lots of my friends actually use the number of people that responded “yes” to prepare for their parties. If you are definitely going, make sure to RSVP so the host can have enough food/drinks for everyone. If you aren’t going, don’t click “yes”! It’s really not cool to make someone prepare extra food if you never intended to show up in the first place.
The bottom line is: treat your cyber life as you treat your real life. Don’t say/do anything that you wouldn’t do or say in person. Don’t give people a reason to talk about you (unless it’s a good reason of course). How you present yourself through social media tools can permanently damage your real life image you have worked so hard to perfect.
Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!