Let’s Get Personal

While we may try to keep our work and personal lives separate, there are times they come colliding together. And social media is a great example of that.

Many employers have enacted rules about how an employee should present themselves on their personal accounts. Or if rules are not enacted, do have general guidelines. The issue is that although it may be a personal social media account, the user still represents the employer, and no matter what is said, reflects that employer.

In “Social Media Butterfly or Buffoon” an article written by Beth Roessner, senior editor, and featured in the December 2018 School Nutrition magazine, tips on how to successfully manage professional social media accounts were given. But equally important in this social media conversation is how to manage one’s personal accounts.  

Most people subscribe to some social media platform—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. But it’s no longer an issue of simply posting whatever and whenever—it’s an issue of management. You never know who may be viewing your profile and consuming your content. Something you post now, may come back to haunt you 10 years from now. Images and other innocent posts have long lives on the internet.

Firstly, in an era of theft and privacy breaches, be sure to check privacy settings on your platforms to ensure your personal information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Privacy settings can also be strengthened for photos and videos to ensure they’re not viewed by unwanted eyes. However, they’re not end-all-be-all. You can hide pictures or posts from the general public or even select individuals.

Secondly, consider how you portray yourself on social media. Potential employers and current employers can come across your feed and find something that doesn’t jive with the company’s policies and decide to act in some capacity. If a colleague views your profile and is offended by something, they could report you to your employer.

“I always caution people,” says Stefani Dove, RD, SNS, coordinator of marketing and community outreach, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools. “I refrain from posting anything political, anything about religion and anything of that nature, because you have to be mindful. Even though it’s your personal page, you’re still representing your program.”

“If the local news channel was coming and interviewing you and you are not comfortable saying it on camera, then don’t post it,” she says. “Step back and think.” In her opinion, Dove thinks it’s best to stay away from controversial topics like religion or politics.

But social media does have its bright spots. Dove adds, your personal page is a great place to cross-promote your program’s social media feeds to spread the word and further reach. Your program’s social media pages will gain extra exposure to new audiences when you cross promote. 

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