Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to be a stud at Social Media and keep a low profile?

These days, employers are more interested in what you've done than what you know. So, as a 'career Marketer', it's fairly critical that I keep up an active Social Media presence. Which means, like them or not, I need to be on just about every new social media site that pops up. I'm sure you're aware of our accompanying Twitter feed (@TNOReality), and possibly a fun little PHP site that can warn those with certain vices about certain tests for employment. ( I'm also on digg,, myspace, quora, linkedin, and facebook. And gotta say, I only really use the last two. (Quora is pretty cool tho). Now with Google Plus coming to life, I gotta wonder how far its gonna go.

The main advantage I've found with Google+ is going to be privacy control. A bit too early to test, since I really only have friends in 2 circles, So not much to block off yet. And I don't see Mom and Dad joining any time soon, especially that they only just discovered Facebook are barely use that. But this makes me wonder if this is finally a network in which I can keep an uncensored profile, yet keep potential employers and easily offended family members from seeing the fun stuff.

Yes, these days you gotta censor yourself lest you get denied employment, or even fired. Don't want to lose a job just because I have a differing opinion from the boss on a political issue, or because I might drop an f-bomb to accent my writing, or even because I'm seen holding a beer at a friend's bbq. Just keeping a casual or comedic tone on your site can incendentally imply to an employer you won't take your job seriously.

So in response, I have measures on each of my accounts to make sure things are only seen by those who need to see them. I keep LinkedIn 100% professional. All serious business on there, since anyone, preferably employers, can see my profile. Facebook is the exact opposite. I am very selective of who gets on there. Friends and family only, and some of the things I post I just hope my parents don't read. I don't allow even work friends on there, since who knows what can be revealed of me through them. (this is something I hope changes) But it's complete, unfiltered me. Of course I do the typical "update" posts like "At the Rush concert with Geddy Lee and it is AWESOME!!!"... I'm not on my soapbox all the time... but the rest is political, contraversial, funny... or as I prefer to think of it.. Interesting.

Take out the interesting stuff, and you'll see a lackluster, or at least poorly maintained, site. How effective can I look with scattered chatty blurbs every few days? Case in point, I do actually keep an open, moderated version of @TNOReality on Twitter that I can show employers. But since most of my schtick (and the account my phone is tied in to) is based around my social activities or political humor, the private account goes ignored for days some times. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentaly.

So this leaves me with a site that doesn't exactly scream "social media expert". What they say expert, they want someone who eats, drinks, and lives social media. So no job for me. If I show them the full version, well I risk turning off a potential paycheck. I doubt any corporate employer would hire me if I showed off "" to them, despite showing flawless coding (and shameless plugging!).

Real life example: Anything and everything about Bonnaroo was declined from my "PG" account. A few because it wasn't worth changing accounts for one scattered tweet, but mostly because I don't need some employer to make some assumption about me given the festival's obvious correlation with drug use...

So what to do... Dull & Unimpressive or Active & Agitating? I've tried a middle ground and toned down things, sometimes it worked, and sometimes it made my writing reek of Bipolar disorder. I like being vocal about my opinions, and don't feel the need to change that just because its on a website instead of phone or in person. My quest is to uncover the uncensored truth, and if some people aren't offended I'm not doing my job. But as we reveal ourselves in a virtually "all or nothing" manner, the pressure is increased, and pushed into our private lives, to write bland, socially conforming and comforting material, just in case the wrong people see it.

Hopefully with Google+ they'll get permissions down to the individual posts over who sees what, and won't let anyone not in a circle see your profile. And maybe throw in a way to make your full "useage stats" known, just to show lurking employers how influential you really are... And hopefully get enough users where it will be a viable social media platform!