Cleaning Up Your Social Media

Published on December 12, 2016 by arothstein

Social media can help you stay in touch with friends and family, share photos with them, and even champion a cause. However, social media is to be handled with care. Over half of employers have stated that they view the social media of potential employees before hiring them. Your photos and posts should frequently be screened carefully, and controversial or unflattering posts should be removed. Sometimes a friend can tag you in a photograph or post that can cause difficulty for you.

If your friends like to take photos of parties and social events and tag you in them, make sure the photos that they post are tasteful. Some very nice people have been cut from potential employment opportunities or rejected as potential dates because the social media posts make them appear to party too much, drink too much, or flirt too much.

If you have lots of contacts or “friends” on social media, it may be a good place to champion a cause or endorse a political or religious view. However, be aware that friends may share that post and other people may see it, and without knowing you, may form an unfavorable or unrealistic view of you. For example, there was a young lady who was diagnosed with a mental illness. She used Facebook as her platform to try to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, so she constantly posts about her depression or suicidal thoughts. She posts about hospitalizations for crises, and being inpatient in psychiatric facilities. While she is very brave to speak out about the pain of mental illness, she needs to make sure that she is willing to be identified as a mentally ill person. Her social media is sure to limit her employment opportunities in the future. She wants to get a job while in college babysitting, but parents may be hesitant to hire someone with her problems. She wants to be a teacher, but teachers have to sign an affidavit stating that they are physically and mentally capable of performing the job. Someone reading her Facebook posts for the last few years may disagree with her ability to perform a stressful job.

Some people get very angry about certain political or religious figures on social media, and their posts make them appear intolerant or volatile. You should never post anything on social media while angry. You should write your posts with a viewpoint of what would your mother or your pastor think about the post. Remove the post if you posted in haste so you won’t have to suffer in the future for your impetuous posts.

Be careful about being critical of certain groups of people or certain religions or certain ethnic groups on social media. As a potential employee, you must demonstrate that you can get along with all kinds of people and be culturally sensitive in today’s multicultural workplace and community. Your social media should testify to the fact that you are culturally sensitive and not intolerant or prejudiced against others.

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