As commencement approaches for millions of college graduates across the country, it’s time for many students to enter the strange and challenging world of employment. The change is going to affect more than just your bank account and sleeping habits. It’s going to have a tremendous impact on your online life.
Or is it? Many companies are hopping onto the social media bandwagon in an effort to reach the 18-34 demographic. Some companies even hire their own specific social media team. It’s truly a new environment for newly hires and employers alike. It’s been widely documented that schools and businesses want to be ‘hip’ and engage people on Twitter and Facebook. But we’re not worried about them. We here at EduDemic want to give advice to the recent college grads who are either starting work soon or looking for a job and hoping to start soon. So here’s the skinny on what you should do and say online during your first months of employment. After that, you’ll know what’s best (we hope.)
We polled some of our fellow authors on EduDemic and the majority think that it’s a great thing if you tweet while at work. However, we offer this caveat: don’t tweet too much (more than 6-7 times a day) and certainly don’t tweet about how boring your job is or other unprofessional topic. (see below) It’s best to get into this habit before you start working since your future coworkers are likely going to google your name and, lo and behold, your most recent tweets will show up on the Google universal search.
On a ‘no duh’ note, be sure to also act professionally when out of the office. You don’t want to be like the guy who tweeted that he’d attack an airport because it was closed. He’s now fined and has a criminal record.
VERDICT: OK to tweet but do so sparingly and with caution. Keep those tweets SFW! (Safe For Work!)
Sharing your work horror stories is going to be very tempting once you start 9-to-5′ing it. That smelly coworker? Freudian slip made by the boss? Attractive coworker? All of these topics should never be discussed online, especially on the privacy-concern factory that is Facebook. While you are still able to limit who can see your profile, you will likely be getting friend requests from various coworkers in the coming months. You wouldn’t want to think ‘well they’re nice and i’ve been respectful online’ and then discover they found that picture you took of them doing something embarassing.
VERDICT: Save the Facebook updates for after work and keep it professional. Facebook is the new LinkedIn.
There is a time and place for sharing funny stuff online. While you may be tempted to share that YouTube video about a cat, ask yourself a few key questions:
If you have been at your job for a few months, know your coworkers’ likes and dislikes, go ahead and share the video with a select few. Chances are good they’ll share an amusing video or link with their friends so don’t feel the need to cc the entire office. After all, if the link turns out to offend someone down the line, your name is far-removed and you won’t be held as responsible.
VERDICT: Like with sharing secrets, share online content cautiously and with people you trust.