R&R Focus: Twitter And Facebook DOs and DON'Ts For Job Seekers And Job Keepers-Part 1

It's pretty much impossible to not be affected by social networking these days. Even if you've totally sworn off all things Facebook, Twitter and the like, chances are that you know someone who has an account with one or all such websites and one fateful day you'll end up tagged in their photos. The types of things people are comfortable with publishing and broadcasting to the world via their social networking pages still amazes me. Some would say "Well it's my page, I do what I want and it's nobody's business" but when you think about the myriad of updates that Facebook has had to its privacy policy along with the fact that there is now the need for there to be a book about the website's privacy controls, how much privacy to you really know you have? These Dos and Don'ts should help you regardless of what your stance is on social networking...newbies, casual users and addicts alike!

1. DON'T change your name to something absurd and unrecognizable (i.e. Jane YouKnowYouWantThisSexyLovin Sims or BadChocolateBarbie Jones). It's unprofessional,juvenile and comes off as a desperate cry for attention. You don't want to alienate potential employers or clients from taking you seriously just at the sight of your Facebook name.

DO use your real name.

You will definitely get Googled and information about you will come up whether you know it's there or not. Why not have a little leverage over it by creating the content that potential employers will see? For those who have Jane and John Doe types of names, make sure you use your middle initial to help pull you out of the pack of those who share your name.

2. DON'T complain and rant constantly in your statuses and tweets.

No one wants to be around someone who's a storm cloud to be around. And they probably won't want to hire them either. Profanity laced statuses are the worst and they demonstrate that you might have an anger management issue. Try getting a journal or talking to a trusted family member or friend.

DO tweet and post statuses about successes that you've had on the job, things you are looking forward to, ect. Try to stay positive.

People want to know that you can succeed at something, not that everything you touch falls apart. We all have our bad days, but going on and on about them makes you seem out of control and temperamental...not someone that I would trust a piece of my business with. 3. DON'T allow ratchet pictures to be taken of you by people who you KNOW are ratchet enough to post them on Facebook and/or Twitter. I get nervous when people pull out cameras at random times and places now. You never know when someone is trying to frame you in the next viral crazy picture or video. Don't be afraid to let people know that they do NOT have permission to film or photograph you if you are uncomfortable and report violations immediately.

DO take a nice, professional picture for your profile. Unfortunately, we are a visual society that makes many judgements based on how a person looks. The picture doesn't necessarily have to be you in a suit and heels, but it should reflect that you are a person who cares about their appearance and is responsible.

4. DON'T only upload pictures of you gettin' it in at the latest club.

It may not be fair, but again if the majority of your pictures are like this it may send the message that you are irresponsible or lack maturity.

DO show that you have a variety of cultural interests in your pictures.

It's OK to have a few (tasteful) party pictures up, but make sure you have a good diversity of pictures of you participating in more cultural and professional events as well, such as going to a museum or a professional conference. This shows that you are well rounded and passionate about what you do.

5. DON'T post crazy videos and pictures to your profile just because you think they're cute or would get lots of laughs/comments. Find another way, like email, to send your friends links to such things. I know it's tempting to put the latest midget stripper video from sites like World Star Hip Hop on your page to see the reaction of your friends, but be careful about the unintended messages that they may send to potential or current employers.

Look out for Part 2 next week. In the meantime, what do you think? Do you take your image on Facebook and Twitter seriously or do you think people shouldn't put so much weight on what people post on these websites? Let me know in the comments!