Check Your Etiquette

A quick look at my Facebook these days appears pretty normal — pictures of me with friends, family and cats (lots of cats). On Instagram, it’s pretty much the same.

I’ve come pretty far from the outlandish and insensitive things I used to casually post online.

It’s a good thing, too, because that kind of online footprint would have a prospective employer scratching their head.

I don’t believe this gets enough attention. Our Facebook profiles  and Twitter feeds are giant tapestries, depicting who we are and  our interests.

We can fold our arms and proselytize about free speech and how it shouldn’t matter because it’s online, but our social media presence goes a long way toward aiding one’s judgement of us.

It doesn’t help that some of the people making those judgements might be the ones writing our checks.

When I spoke with Philip Parker, USI’s Director of Career Services and Internships, he talked about how businesses will look for “inappropriate posts and images” by potential hires and how, because we can be tagged in posts, “You never know what’s out there of you.”

Businesses want professionals working for them. There’s nothing professional about profanity-laden tirades about current coworkers or traffic.

Twitter beef doesn’t look good to a hiring manager who’s just Googled you, and posting pictures from the blacked-out drunk romp by the riverfront doesn’t make a good case for your ability to show up to work sober.

Most social networking platforms offer privacy settings so that failing to delete every single weird post you’ve ever made (I’ve made thousands), you can protect what you post from people you don’t know.

However, as stifling as it may feel, ultimately, it’s so much easier to just be more responsible with things that are posted and how they are shared.

I know, perhaps better than most, how stressful it can be to accept responsibility and act like an adult.

As much as I love to have fun and share my good times with friends and family, there has be that conscientiousness guiding the way I share online.

The key word is definitely conscientiousness. The professional world is just up ahead, and to show that we belong in it, it helps to think about how it’s going to see us before we click “post.”