by Briana Piercey
We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.
There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.
Control your content
Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.
The “non-renewable” post
When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.
Social media safety
Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:
Don’t announce your every move
“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.
Know who your friends and followers are
Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.
Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content
Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.
Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
by Nikki Carpenter
One of the most intimidating aspects of the “real world” after graduation is business professionalism. It is the unfamiliar appearances, communication and habits that derive this intimidation factor. The days of being surrounded by students in gym clothes or jeans and T-shirts on a daily basis are long gone. The conversations change from Greek life to happy hour, from roommate struggles to insurance rates.
So what’s the best way to overcome this professional roadblock when the skills must be taught? A survey by York College notes that 45 percent of recent college graduates have a “too casual an attitude toward work” and a “worsening work ethic.” To help bridge this learning gap, colleges such as Columbia University and the University of North Carolina, have published articles touching on the basics of the professional world for college students.
The job interview and the first day of work are two of the most nerve-wracking situations for young professionals because of the unknown. Always come prepared and confident and make a lasting first impression as a skillful employee, not just a college student.
- Introduce yourself by first and last name. Also, unless otherwise given permission, refer to everyone with by his or her proper title.
- Be aware and follow the ethics of your industry.
- Respect coworkers’ personal space.
- Dress for success. Remain modest, yet professional in business settings.
- Always be attentive and punctual. Get enough sleep the night before in order to make it through morning meetings without appearing drowsy.
Chances are that within five years of graduation, college students will attend a professional dining event. It could be an interview over lunch, a conference where a meal is served or listening to a speaker at a brunch. Regardless, proper etiquette is expected. A few tips are listed below:
- Always be polite to restaurant staff. This is a reflection of how you treat coworkers and clients.
- Be aware of conversation when ordering a meal. Try to avoid messy and difficult to eat foods.
- When using silverware, always work from the outside in. Start with the fork farthest from the plate (it is typically the salad fork).
- Never ask for a to-go box. You are here for business, not leftovers.
Professionalism varies in every industry and workplace. In general, it is always better to overdress than underdress, and to act more proper than casual. Even if a workplace is not a formal setting, it is important to practice proper business etiquette. Whether when attending a conference, meeting with the CEO of a company or simply interviewing for a new job, professionalism is a quality that makes specific students stand out among a sea of candidates.