Keeping A Positive Image On The Internet

The Internet has become the epicenter of mass communication.

It is used for personal and professional use, but with increased access to the Internet some of us have over indulged ourselves in how candid and exposed we have caused our online personalities to become, which could lead to a clear reflection of our true personalities.

The universal question to help solve this dilemma is: How do you separate your personal online profile from your professional one?

Source: Emily A. Hay

Source: Emily A. Hay

Many of us have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Path…the list continues. Many of us have friends on social sites that have no filter when it comes to writing posts and taking pictures.

Truth is, those friends are amusing so we keep them relevant on our page, but that one time that friend tags or mentions you in an unsightly post for all to see, it can have a negative reflection on you. An obvious solution would be to have two profiles: one for professional use and one for personal use.

A con to this tactic is trying to keep up multiple profiles and staying relevant on them. My favorite is the privacy settings. USE IT! You can make what you post visible to only the people you allow. It also works in reverse, you can control who is able to view pictures and statuses you are tagged in by friends of yours who have no filter when it comes to Internet communication.  The safest thing to assume when using the privacy feature is that anything you write, share, or add a comment to online can be seen by someone who may pass it along to someone else (knowingly or unknowingly).

Having one profile may cause you to be more reserved when posting, but it shows that you have nothing to hide and it is a lot easier. Having more than one account on a site can be tricky. Most phones now allow you to post to multiple accounts, but you would have to stay alert when posting to make sure you do not post to the wrong profile.

When it comes to the “about me” section of your profile, it is okay to express yourself, but it is always best to stick to a simple description. This information is usually public for anyone scoping your profile to see, even with the privacy features. It is legit that college and job spectators look through your social network profiles! So keep it PG!

Another tactic is to use various social networks for different purposes. Facebook could only be used for professional use, while Instagram is used for personal use. LinkedIn is a professional site that is used for interacting and building your networking skills with other professionals; you can have other social sites act in the same way. The one con to this is that it would be harder to view and give updates across all of your contacts in the many social networks.

Overall, the best solution is to have one profile. Be yourself, but at the same time a good influence. If you are adamant about having a personal profile separate from a professional one, then it would be best to use multiple accounts or different networks for your specific use.

Remember to log out of your social sites regularly to interact with the real world in person!

Gabrielle Burgess-Smith
Vice President of Public Relations
EMU PRSSA
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