Let me tell you a story. A few years ago I bumped into an old high school classmate at a local restaurant. I hadn’t seen this woman in years, probably not since the day we walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. But we are friends on Facebook and her posts have occasionally caught my eye. So when we started to chat we both basically regurgitated things we had read about each other on Facebook. Among many things, I commented on the adorableness of her toddler and she mentioned my wedding in Italy. It was a nice exchange, however I was surprised how much my seemingly random (at the time) Facebook posts had crafted a narrative about my life.
If someone had to make a snap judgement about your life based on your Facebook profile, tweets or instagram photos what would they conclude? Think about that for a moment. Because everyday, someone somewhere is doing just that. A recruiter, old acquaintance, family member, friend or colleague are all summing up your life based on what you share (or overshare) online. And my guess is, you’re online presence is not an accurate portrayal of who you are.
5 tips for a better online presence
Share something meaningful. We all have special talents, gifts, interests, skills and experiences. Make sure it’s reflected in your online presence. Are you a talented artist? Then post your latest masterpiece. Have you built something lately? Share it. Take pictures of your garden, post your poetry or teach us something. Before too long, people will realize you’re more than cat pictures or your latest meal at a restaurant.
Be genuine and balanced. Share the good and the bad moments, but do so in an honest and balanced manner. Nobody likes a constant showoff or Debbie downer. Your “look at my new fancy car” and “the world is always against me” posts could be sending the wrong message.
Remember your audience. When was the last time you looked at your list of friends or followers? Its probably been awhile so chances are you may be connected to individuals you may not want to share your life with. Do you really want everyone to see pictures of your kids? Or your boss looking at pictures of your bachelorette party? Or your colleague reading your political rant? Probably not. And remember, your friends have friends too, so even the most “private” of online posts still could be viewed and shared by others.
Just because it happened, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to share. It’s amazing how much pressure we now feel to share every single detail of our lives, from huge life moments (divorce, birth of a child) to small frivolous details (you stopped at Starbucks this morning…good for you).
Leave the drama offline. This is by far my biggest online pet peeve and sadly I have a number of online connections that love drama. Every feud, illness, bad day or otherwise is blasted out for all to read. Hoping to garner an “OMG what happened” or “hang in there, girl” comment. I can understand the need to vent from time to time or the need for positive support, but in reality, most drama-filled posts just make the author look petty, stupid or insane.
Is your online presence an accurate portrayal of who you are? If you’re not sure, ask a friend or family member to give you an objective opinion. You may be surprised what they say.
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