Stories about personal social media accounts adversely affecting jobs and life in general are becoming cliche. But just when you think you have all the rules down, and trust your Facebook or Twitter privacy settings to adequately protect you from prying eyes, another warning comes along to make you feel violated.
Our formerly-featured woman, Lisa from Life on Purpose, recently wrote a great piece called "Playing Facebook." She has a practical list of do's and don'ts - my favorite being number 5: " Your "friends" are not friends, but consumers of YOUR content. They are your AUDIENCE."
That, for most of us, is the hardest to wrap our heads around. It doesn't matter if you talk to any of your social media friends in person or have known them for years, things said on Facebook or Twitter are taken differently than if the same thing was said face to face or via telephone. Social media platforms are essentially stages, where you can exchange business ideas or promote your business, and where people can judge your product or service accordingly. On a personal level, anything you post is put up for judgment and analysis as well. It doesn't matter if you're just whining because you're sick, or only bragging about how cute your cats are, you're opening yourself up to psychological judgment. It comes down to more than just pics of you on vacation with a margarita and blood-shot eyes. While you might not care if your friends see that, you might look harder at the chance of others seeing it.
The Center for Investigative Reporting writes, in Is your boss spying off the clock, that investigative firms are getting sneaky about mining for personal information on behalf of employers. The old psychological tests given by some employers aren't necessary anymore, thanks to social media. If you're one of those people who has 2,000 "friends," you're especially at risk. Employers, or those acting on behalf of them, have fake accounts especially for getting info about employees. If you aren't picky about who you allow to see your personal announcements, you might end up with more than just a farm neighbor.
It is hard to get used to the 24 hour reunion. It's fun, better than reality TV most of the time, and can be detrimental to your life if you aren't careful. We all dig when 200 people tell us to feel better, but knowing that the simple fact that you need that much attention over a cold is something employers can use against you.
So, be careful. Don't post everything that comes to mind. Wait and think before adding narrative detail to a buddy's vacation pics. Don't treat social media as drunken girls-night out, otherwise, you might end up actually living that dream of being Will Farrell in his underwear as you accept the Oscar.