Don’t Take Bad Social Media Advice - by Heather Bussing - HRExaminer

Don’t believe these 5 social media myths.

If you have good judgment and common sense, social media can be a great tool. If not, it’s evidence.

There’s a lot of bad advice out there about using social media. Some of it is well intentioned. Other is just plain stupid. Some of it will hurt you.

Don’t believe these 5 social media myths.

Myth 1.     Revealing Your True Self Requires Revealing Your Whole Self.

Right. And having a true body requires revealing your whole body. We don’t walk around naked. Most people would agree that dressing for the occasion is both socially appropriate and good business practice.You don’t wear a bikini to a job interview or a tux to a little league game.

Revealing yourself on social media is the same. Everything you do on social media is public. You have no control over who will see it, who will share it, and then who else will see it.

So reveal the information and images that you are comfortable having public. Sure. Talk about things that matter to you, have opinions, express yourself. But also have good manners. The truth is, other people don’t really want to know everything you’ve eaten, how hung-over you are, what was in your cat’s hairball, or the size of your baby’s poop. And those drunken pictures are more pathetic than amusing.

You are not having an intimate conversation with your best friend. You are broadcasting to people you don’t know that well.

Myth 2.     Privacy Settings Keep Posts Private

Privacy settings may briefly affect who sees an initial post. Yet, even that changes at the whim of the platform providers. For example, on Facebook if you designate someone as a close friend, you can see their activity on other people’s posts including everyone’s comments and photographs–even the people you don’t know, who think their posts are private.

More importantly, everything you post on social media is cached on multiple servers in multiple places, and can be retrieved easily by the police, your ex, or the opposing party in a lawsuit. Sometimes they have to get a subpoena and let you know. But lots of times they don’t. The police can stop you for a minor traffic issue and look at everything on your phone, including your Facebook posts. If you are friends with someone who is also friends with your boss, you can be sure the boss is seeing or hearing about all those rants saying what a douche canoe he is.

Nothing on social media is private.

Myth 3.     Self Promotion is Essential for Personal Brand

Personal brand is usually interpreted as personal promotion. Guess what? We’re not that into you. So unless you are doing something interesting or useful to us, we don’t really care about all that nonsense you’re posting. Okay, maybe if we’re your mother or best friend.

Personal brand is not an objective. When done well, it’s not even that much about you. It’s about doing great work and building a solid reputation for being knowledgable, caring, and excellent at what you do. It’s about providing value to others. Otherwise, it just looks like you’re all you think about.

Develop a good reputation for doing great work, not just talking about yourself.

Myth 4.     There is No Difference Between Work and Life

That’s like saying there is no difference between night and day, or summer and winter. We all live and function in cycles that progress and change. Sure, the lines are more blurry now that we can send an email from the grocery store and turn on the porch light from the office. It’s no longer about where we are or what time it is.

Work and life are still about relationships and appropriate boundaries. You have relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. You don’t have sex with all of them. You don’t talk about the nuances of your business deals with your kids or the guy you met on the train.

You still need to consider what level of intimacy and disclosure is appropriate for each relationship. It’s important to understand what information you want to be private and keep it that way.

Your boss may be your friend, but she’s still your boss. And if you reveal information that shows poor judgement, indiscretion, substance abuse problems or sheer idiocy, there will be consequences.

Myth 5.     Social Media is Worth Your Time

Social media is a complete time suck. Do an experiment. Track how many times you checked Facebook or Twitter in a day, how much time you spent reading posts and clicking on links and reading those posts. Then just admit you were killing time and goofing around. I love goofing around. I also really enjoying having fun conversations with people online. Still, I also would be better off taking a walk, trying new recipes, or even cleaning the bathroom.

Social media is a great place to develop relationships with people you don’t get to see in person. It’s a great place to keep up with friends, consider alternate views and ideas, and know what’s going on with colleagues in your industry.

Mostly though, social media is brain candy. Is it time for a social media diet?

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