As Seen on Facebook

Today I posted this picture to my facebook wall because I thought it was ironic that a US Olympian, who was ridiculed by the media last year for smoking marijuana, is now the most decorated Olympian of all time. Normally I keep my political and controversial positions to myself, realizing the internet is not a great place to air your personal opinion, especially if you use it for business, but I decided this was a pretty bold statement considering the current events in our world and country. By the end of today my post had been reshared 14 times by my personal network, making it clear that my opinion was shared, literally, by my facebook friends.

So in this day and age, when we are connected to thousands of people at any given time, with our information, photos and ideas being shared around the world, sometimes even without out our knowledge, how do we handle this responsibility?

We are told we have to be careful with what we put on facebook not just because what our grandma or little brother might see (my 12 year old brother joined facebook today as well, giving me even more to think about on this subject,) but also our bosses or clients.

This guy may not want to advertise he drinks and drives.

Recently I have had the interesting experience of “meeting” several people in person that I before only knew on facebook. I have had people know things about my life, my travels and my business who I have never met before and while it is flattering it has also brought to my attention the importance of protecting your online brand.

In my industry it is known that Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and now Instagram can be important tools to getting your name and business out there. Your “online brand” is not just important to entrepreneurs or business owners, but to anyone managing their social media profiles.

In a recent Jobvite study, 92% of recruiters said they are using or plan to use social media in their hiring process.

The survey polled more than 1,000 companies. Since they started using social media sites to hire, 50% reported finding more candidates, and 43% said they now find better candidates.

How do we find a balance between being ourselves, sharing our style, opinions and humor without hurting our chances at a future job or even a relationship?

My first suggestion and what I spent a few days last week doing, is to go through old albums and pick out the best and moving them to another album of “keepers.” Many of my albums were old, some even from 2008 and while I stand by my 19 year old self and all the  fun time and decisions I made, I don’t need everyone I connect with on facebook to see. I made many of my albums available to “ONLY ME” with the privacy setting under the edit album setting. This way I still have the photos but they are private to me.

I don’t want to delete all my cherished photos from Spring Break 2008 in Rosarito, but I don’t need the world to see them either.

If you haven’t already, put your family, business associates and potential clients or co workers in a restricted list. This way, if you want to share something with your buddies, like your Vegas vacation photos, you will not regret it when your boss asks if you are feeling okay after such an exciting weekend.

Social media has helped me build my business, raise funds and awareness for non-profits and maintain and build friendships all over the world. It can be a great asset to your life as well if you use it for good, not for evil (unproductive hours wasted on stalking your ex or  playing farmville.) Remember to be positive and to only post things you will be proud of a month or a year from now because once it is on the internet it is there for good!

My video on Your Positive Brand Online!

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