Facebook has become a mainstream way of socializing. We talk to friends, share pictures with family and even find coupons in our news feeds. Unfortunately, some people have forgotten the public and very permanent nature of Facebook. We have all been privy to embarrassing and inappropriate behaviors of others via the site. In this day and age, it is imperative to keep a positive Internet persona. New friends and possible employers will search your name online, and the first thing that will appear is your Facebook profile. Keeping this in mind, here are 5 steps to keeping your Facebook reputation intact.
Pictures and Videos
By all means, do not post potentially embarrassing photos or videos on Facebook. This includes allowing others to tag you in any compromising pictures or movies. While some people are too young or too naive to understand the ramifications of pictures on the Internet, understand this: they last forever. What about that drunken picture of you half naked from your college days? That high school shot of you toilet papering a friend’s home? What about the video of you drunkenly dancing and using profanities at your buddy’s wedding? Believe it or not, 10 years, even 20 years from now, the past can come back to haunt you. Employers routinely check the Facebook profiles of potential employees for indiscretions before offering a position. Can you imagine presenting the employer of your dreams with one of these photos at your interview? Of course not! A good rule of thumb is: if your Grandmother or employer cannot see it, don’t put it on Facebook.
Be careful what you post on Facebook and be careful what you allow others to post on your Facebook wall. While what you write can hurt your reputation the most, having uncomfortable posts on your page written by others can also hurt your credibility. For example, “man, watching you drink a case of beers last night was epic” showing up on your wall is going to lead to questions about your behavior, whether you authored it or not. Be cautious writing on other’s walls, as well. It is a strange situation to be having a conversation the world can view. Be mindful that ears may not be listening, but eyes are certainly watching. Never use profanities or suggestive language. Stay away from controversial topics. A note, most business pages are public. This means that anyone on the web can see them, Facebook members or not. Be exceedingly cautious writing on these pages. Finally, watch your status updates. Do not make yourself sound childish, petty or silly. Stay away from inside jokes, controversial matter and don’t update too often. It needs to appear that you go offline, at least occasionally.
All those crude jokes and pictures you chuckled at in your news feed and mindlessly clicked “like” in passing? Remember those? You more than likely do not. They passed by you quickly and just as quickly left your mind. Unfortunately for you, a lot of the stuff you like shows up in your friends’ news feeds. Do you really want your co-workers to have the picture of the inappropriate e-card you liked showing up in their news feed? Just because something made you chuckle, doesn’t mean you need to click that button. Laugh and move on – there is no need to leave a record of your amusement. This also goes for groups and businesses you like. Don’t like groups or businesses that are controversial. Just don’t do it. Save those conversations for people close to you in real life, not for Internet arguments.
You are not the only person who has heard the saying “you are who your friends are.” We’ve all heard it and we all believe it. Watch your Facebook crowd. Ensure your friends are stand up members of society. Possible employers will surely scroll through your friends list so see who you surround yourself with. Make sure it’s a list that would make your Mother proud.
If you play games on Facebook or your mobile device, for goodness sake, do not post updates on Facebook! This has got to be one of the most childish and pitiful things people do. Can you imagine talking to your possible boss in an interview about your latest gaming conquests on Facebook? Of course you can’t! When others see these immature things on people’s pages, it not only annoys them, but ensures them that you are a silly individual with too much time on your hands. It also makes your priorities seems out of whack and you appear to be a bit strange. We all know the anti social people who play video games all day; don’t make yourself appear to be one of them.
In summary, use your common sense while on Facebook. It should be a fun way to interact with family and friends. However, what you do on there is not only available for the world to see, it also lasts forever. Learn to navigate the Facebook privacy settings to the best of your abilities. Don’t list too much personal information about yourself in your profile. After all, your friends and family already know where you work and what your phone number is, right? With a bit of sound judgment and intelligence, you can ensure that Facebook remains a fun past time that positively reflects who you are.
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