A lot of people I’ve talked to have puzzled over how to present themselves on Facebook. The problem is that you really should have only one “identity”, yet you don’t necessarily communicate the same kind of messages to friends, co-workers, future employers, or people in other social circles. This can be especially a concern for those born before, say, 1970, who didn’t have to deal with this before the Internet changed our lives.
The most important thing to remember is that ALL these people will find you on Facebook, so the only thing you really control is how much information you share with them.
Let’s start with your photo. Is it something you’d want your friends and family to see? How about a current or future employer? Your kids? That doesn’t mean that you have to have just a boring headshot, but you might not want to have that picture which makes people wonder about you being a bit TOO strange for their company.
Is your birthday too sensitive to share with the world? If you’re worried about age discrimination, perhaps. Or you might figure it could be an advantage for you.
How do you describe yourself in the “About Me” box? Like the photo, you want it to be honest, reasonably personal, but not scare people off. Let people find out more about you as relationships develop, not just by doing a quick 3 minute search on Facebook.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re thinking about your career, you need to be cautious. Employers WILL investigate you on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and anything else at their disposal. Don’t use Facebook as just another place to put your résumé, though – that’s just pointless. You can let your real self show through, but do it in a way that won’t turn off employers.
Even then, you don’t control what other people are saying about you and the pictures they post. Or that Google saves everything forever, even stuff you’ve deleted. It can be a bit scary, but it’s the state of the Internet.
Maybe it just means that you should live a life that you’d be proud of. Hmm, that’s interesting….
by Carl Dierschow