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Social media has inherent dangers

It can be a challenge to maintain balance between personal and work life on social media.

Women at Work - Kristen Asleson column sig
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With the allowance of once again attending high school sporting events comes the enjoyment of talking with other working women whom one may, or may not have, had the opportunity to talk with on a regular basis for quite some time. Yes, emails and social media count for some communication, but there is nothing better than face-to-face conversations, even if half of those faces are covered with masks.

But the discussion seems to migrate to one of two things, sometimes both: Politics and COVID-19. Neither topic is one I wish to indulge in when there are still so many positive and pleasant things to discuss. In sharing my opinion with another adult, somehow the topic of sharing opinions on social media came up.

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In the course of this conversation, several opinions were shared and agreed upon. For instance, when a person’s posts have a rotation of politics, humor, personal and/or work posts, they are easily scrolled through and ignored if that is preferred. However, when people begin to post constant opinions on politics, it begins to wear on their professionalism. No matter if you are a lunch lady, an insurance agent, a teacher, a brain surgeon, an astronaut or something in between, one must always remember to be professional.
Professionalism on social media matters when it comes to your reputation. As communication continues to evolve, it is important for people to stay involved with consumers, potential customers, coworkers and vendors online. Often, business owners and employees will create a separate page or account for their business, so their personal life stays as private as possible. However, when that is not possible, it is a challenge to maintain balance between personal and work life when it comes to posting.

Elizabeth Rock, social media and member engagement manager for AICPA, has this to say:

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“Always remember you are representing your employer. You must practice self-policing. Things that interest you personally may not be something you should share on a professional account. Social media is a powerful tool, but one tweet, even when deleted, can undercut your message and credibility pretty quickly. Maintaining your professional appearance may mean ignoring the most recent celebrity scandal that shows up on your news feed.”

Remember your reputation. Your job or business could be at stake. CareerBuilder.com reports that in 2013, 43% of employers who screened potential job candidates using social networks, said they had rejected job seekers due to the content found.

About 50% cited inappropriate and provocative images and content as the reasons.

An article on firstinstitute.com shared a professionalism “don’t" list, and one of the tips should fall under common sense:

“Don’t post content that is overly opinionated. Unless your brand is directly related to religion or politics, try to refrain from posting about them. It’s easy for these topics to make you sound judgmental, close-minded, and extreme to others. This goes for other highly opinionated posts, which can offend potential clients and employers. If you simply must share on these issues, be sure to do it tactfully.”

Keep in mind, your reputation could be affected by inappropriate posts or too much opinion.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com .

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