As a Marketing and HR bi-major (MBA from one of the top business schools in my region) and professional, it irks me to no end when potential employers or line managers scan your personal social media profiles to arrive at a judgement of your work-related potential. Common examples are pictures uploaded on facebook where you might be acting silly with your friends, and a potential or current employer, boss, or colleague takes that to mean you have a non-serious attitude that applies everywhere and anywhere, and makes sure to have it noticed in the work place environment. Another common example is the need for people to mention in their twitter bio data something along the lines of “RT’s are not endorsements,” or “Views my own, not my employer’s”.
However, given the kind of background we all come from in Pakistan, a background where people are only beginning to understand and practice professional HR standards and practices, I believe those who face such problems are also at a bit of fault.
For instance, a simple measure that could be taken is to avoid mentioning you work related background on a twitter account that you are using solely for entertainment, or, for instance, ensuring that colleagues are kept off your facebook profile. One of my colleague-cum-bosses I worked with went so far as to make 2 facebook profiles, one was strictly personal, and the other to keep in touch with professional contacts as per facebook’s ways. Like, why should you mention where you work or what professional background you hold, on a twitter bio, when you know that the purpose of that account is more personal (such as RT-ing jokes & quips, most of which may not be acceptable in a professional setting) than corporate?
You have LinkedIn for professional contacts and communication, apart from your professional email address, office number etc. Must you have all your professional contacts on all your personal interaction forums?
Simple rule: decide what the objective of your social profile is, for each social platform: Do you want your facebook profile to be the primary manner in which to keep in touch with professional contacts or seek out professional opportunities? Do you want people not to confuse your twitter account with what your employer or your work ethics represent? Do you want to restrict professional activity to LinkedIn only? How would you prefer people contacting you for work – via personal email ID or via a professional one?
Even if you use more than one social platforms for several purposes each, in the end, it all boils down to the weightage you give to each objective on each profile. That, and strict adherence to your own rules, will help you fend off professional attacks due to activity on personal profiles/accounts.