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Social Networking: What you need to know

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

The internet and technology are great tools that can add positively to our professional and personal lives.

When starting out at a new job, there will be times where we need to look up information on how to do something and checking on the internet on our phones is an easy way to do that. As professionals, we can also use messaging apps on our phones to keep employers updated on our work. Also, in our spare time, social media platforms help us connect with the people in our lives including family back at home.

In this article, we discuss the benefits and challenges of using social media sites. While social media is a great great way to stay connected with your friends and family, there are also dangers of unprofessional usage that will reflect poorly to employers.

Your Profile

Social media sites usually require you to set up your personal profile page. On this page, you will have a profile photo identifying you and then you can add a variety of content such as text, photos, videos, and links to other websites. Your profile page reflects who you are, your interests, and activities.

It is fun and useful to update your profile page to keep connected with your family and friends. However, it is important to remember that the internet is a public place and employers may also come across your profile page and social media activity. We talk about posting appropriate content and how you can limit who sees your profile in the Privacy section below.

On Posting (Think before you click!)

Be appropriate

Even if you limit your profile’s accessibility, consider that you have a varied set of social network contacts. Before posting and sharing any content online, make sure it is appropriate for everyone and is not in violation of any laws or public standards. While most social networking sites have the delete option, your posts online are still “permanent”. Any person can save or make copies of your status updates, comments, photos, and videos (which can be used against you!). So always make sure that all of your social network activity is responsible, safe and proper. A good tip to remember is if you can’t say it offline, then don’t say it online.

Learn the privacy and security policies of each social media networking site you use. Here’s some general guidelines on what to avoid posting / sharing:

  • comments, photos, videos, etc. that suggest or encourage any illegal activity

  • any material or remark that is offensive, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, libelous or is an invasion of another’s privacy

  • any material or remark with inappropriate sexual content

  • any material or remark that is hateful or racially and ethnically offensive

  • content that may be in violation of intellectual property rights such as pirated films or unauthorized images

  • any questionable links that may contain malware, viruses, etc.

Avoid Oversharing

While posting and sharing on social media can be fun, remember not to overdo it! Try to maintain boundaries when it comes to your personal thoughts and opinions. You don’t need to broadcast every detail of your life and respond to everything you see on social media. Avoid posting content that may put you in a bad light. Especially do not complain about your job on social media as this can backfire if your employer sees it! Some other things you should refrain from sharing online are:

  • Personal attacks, gossips or anything that can be considered shaming or libelous

  • Images, videos or any material that you do not own and claiming them as yours

  • Private conversations without consent of the parties involved

Also, do not give out too much personal information, as there are a lot of security issues at stake. Refrain from broadcasting anything with sensitive information such as:

  • addresses and/or pictures with geotags

  • contact numbers

  • personal ID details

  • financial information like credit/debit card details, insurance policy numbers etc.

  • vacation plans

  • travel information such as flight details, transportation stubs, etc.

  • Any other information that may be used to create your personal profile and/or track your whereabouts

This does not only concern your own personal information, but as well as that of your employer’s. Be careful not to post anything that may reveal your employer’s personal info without their knowledge or consent.

On Privacy

Manage your privacy settings

All social networking sites have privacy controls which can usually be found and modified in the “Settings” section. Make sure to protect your personal information and online activity. Limit your profile's access only to people you trust, such as your family and friends. This is to keep people you don't know from accessing your personal information and to prevent online crimes such as identity theft.

On Connecting online

Be selective.

As much as possible, keep your online circle just within your family, friends, and actual people you know. You don’t have to accept every invitation to connect, especially if it’s a stranger. If you’re going to accept a stranger’s connection request, check first if they are real people. Unfortunately, there are many fake profiles on social media, a lot of which created for malicious purposes. Be careful of who you connect with online, as you do offline.

Be professional

Be wary of adding your employer on social media. Check with them first if they are okay with connecting online, since people may have different preferences on the matter. If they agree to your connection request, always be respectful of their privacy and social network boundaries. Keep professional even in your online interactions.

On Messaging

Be careful who you talk to

Only communicate with people you know! If a stranger is trying to message you, find out right away what it is they want and do not share any sensitive or confidential information with them. It's okay to make online friends, but always be on the safe side when dealing with strangers, whether online or offline.

In General

Don’t believe everything you read.

Not everything you read online is true! Consider the sources and author of each post, article or blog you see online. Analyze the content carefully before sharing it.

Self-control and time management is key

Sure, it’s fun to browse through contents on social media platforms. But if you don’t watch out you might find yourself scrolling for hours and having neglected your tasks! Don’t let social media distract you from your job and personal, offline activities.

Prioritize face-to-face interaction

While social media is an effective way to keep in touch with our loved ones across the distance, make sure that you still maintain personal, offline relationships. As much as possible, utilize online messaging for creating personal interactions.

So there you have it! Hope this helps you have a more positive and secure social media experience! To know more about other essential apps for working abroad, check out our post on Useful Mobile Apps for Working Abroad.

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