With every like, post, retweet, share, follow, unfollow, comment, and thumbs up, you are projecting a message of who you are. So what? Why should you care what people on social media think of you? Because a first impression is a lasting impression.
First impressions are made subconsciously, before our conscious mind takes over. It happens very quickly – within seven seconds to be exact.
We make first impressions when meeting someone new. This used to be in person or over the phone, but now social media platforms are the primary way first impressions are formed.
Bosses, co-workers, law enforcement, colleges, professors, neighbors, friends, etc. these people are all on social media. 80% of employers will do a quick Google search of a candidate before inviting them to an interview. And do you know where a google search pulls information from? You got it! Social networking sites.
If you remember the Fabergé Organic Shampoo commercial with Heather Locklear, you’ll remember that word can travel fast. You just never know who knows your boss; and in today’s warp speed age of information you won’t have time to “take it back.”
Even if your profile is private and the only thing the public can see is your profile picture, that is enough to create a first impression.
Say for instance if a person’s profile picture shows them holding a child you will most likely make some type of guess – oh they are a parent, that is their grandchild, this person likes children, etc., Or if the person is wearing a football jersey, you may associate that this person likes football.
There is no such thing as privacy on social media. Digital footprints are nearly impossible to avoid or delete. Today’s screenshot capabilities, GPS tracking apps, media tagging, facial recognition software, and automatic “check-in” settings have made it almost impossible to go undetected.
With the recent wave of political figures, and our newly elected President, using social media to make announcements and to state stances on important issues, the undercurrent of social media and the role it plays in our daily lives has changed.
Social media has morphed into a place where individuals project who they are. Essentially creating their own brand.
We’ve created a list of 7 things you should stop doing on social media and a few questions to ask yourself before you begin posting anything.
- Stop pretending to be someone you’re not.
- Stop oversharing.
- Stop stating your personal opinions about your job.
- Stop posting photographs where you are nude or revealing too much skin.
- Stop flashing your money.
- Stop associating yourself with things that are illegal or could get you arrested.
- Stop sharing personal information.
The most important thing to do before posting anything on social media is to stop and think. Ask yourself the following questions before communicating through social media.
- Will anyone really care about this content besides me?
- Is social media the appropriate platform to share this info?
- How many times have I already posted something today?
- Did I spell check?
- Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?
- Could posting this information get me attacked, fired, or in trouble with the law?
- Is this post too vague? Will everyone understand what I’m saying?
- Is this just me venting?
People make judgments based on what they see. As the saying goes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but often times if the cover doesn’t attract you, you will never read the book.
If you're using social media irresponsibly, without regard or care, it can lead you down a path of self-sabotaging your relationships and image, both personally and professionally.
You are in charge of how you will be perceived. What you communicate through photos, likes, shares as well as who you connect with all become part of your personal brand. Make sure your posts, pictures, comments and the community you are connected with are adding to your value and helping make a strong first-impression.