R&R Focus: Twitter And Facebook DOs and DON'Ts Part 2

In case you missed it, here's Part 1 of my tips on how not to let social networking ruin your professional reputation. I came up with 5 more that are kind of infused with some of my pet peeves. Please feel free to pass these along to someone you know that's Facebook or Twitter challenged.

1.DON'T end up on Failbook, Lamebook, or WORSE...Mediatakeout! It's bad enough to be the laughing stock of Facebook (which is practically the whole world) but when your foolery gets to the point where it's posted outside of the walls of Facebook, you are doing WAY too much.

DO promote your business and/or brand with a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter. In today's world, if don't have any presence on the Internet it's as if you don't exist. The ideal is to have a website for your business that is professionally designed and well maintained, but if you don't quite have the finances for that yet ( web designers can be pretty pricey) try setting up a nice Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account for your business. Facebook and Twitter have some of the largest audiences in the world and best of all it's free!

2. DON'T participate in stupid TTs (race based, sexual, ect.).

Ok we all know there's such a thing as "Twitter After Dark" and lame racial TTs(Trending Topics) like #TeamWhiteGirls, #TeamBlackGirls, ect. In keeping with most of the tips I've given in this series, it is never very wise to align your online persona with anything that could be read as immaturity or ignorance. As the saying goes, loose lips sink ships. Keep intimate details about your life off of the Internet and leave the crazy TTs to the prepubescent kids that started them. DO start positive TTs that are related to your field/interests. Starting conversations about topics of interest to potential employers sends the message that you are engaged in the field and are willing to be a leader in new ways to think about issues that are critical to business.

3. DON'T upload your KING magazine or Chippendales style photo shoot that's 65 photos long.

It never fails that every summer my news feed on Facebook is flooded with bikini pics and muscle pics. I know you've worked hard on your body and you want to show it off, but keep in mind that many people look at everything on your social networking profile as insight into your professional demeanor whether you want them to or not. Someone who has loads of skimpy bikini pictures or oiled up muscle pictures comes off as someone who's more interested in finding a date than finding a job.

4. DON'T make regular announcements(threats) of your impending friend list clean out. Whenever one of my Facebook friends makes an announcement via status that goes something like," I'm doing spring cleaning, starting with my friend list. Hope you make the cut", I tend to wonder if they are looking for attention or if they actually expect people to beg to remain on their friend list. Making a production by announcing this is akin to the point I made about ranting. It emits negative energy that is extremely unattractive and definitely not a quality that someone would want in an employee.

DO monitor friend activity and discreetly remove anyone who is engaging in potentially damaging behavior.

I do realize that sometimes it becomes necessary to remove a friend or unfollow a person if they seem to consistently engage in questionable behavior or rope you into their behavior by posting inappropriate messages on your wall. If you find that you must remove someone, just remove them. No dramatic announcement needed.

5. DON'T have personal conversations under status comments on Facebook or via at replies on Twitter.

We can't get mad about people being in our business when we put our business out there for the picking. If someone asks you a question in a public forum that you wish to answer, tell them to inbox you or call you for more information. Then again, it's probably best to avoid statuses that would cause personal questions to be posed to you. Rants are particularly notorious for being followed up with personal questions in the comments. DO have conversations about topics in the news, shared interests, ect.

If you're going to be involved in social networking then of course you can't avoid the social aspect of it. Be responsible about the types of conversations you participate in, much like you would be about the conversations you get involved in face to face. It's tempting to use the anonymity of a computer screen as the boldness you need to say things you would never say in person, but remember that everything you post is a permanent record about you.

Most of all, remember that Facebook and Twitter are just one way to communicate and promote yourself. Definitely look for opportunities to meet people in real time so that you will be more that a profile page in the mind of an influential person. Facebook and Twitter can be fun and a great way to advance yourself professionally, but be careful and remember to always think twice before posting something. If you're not sure about how it could be received, it might be best to leave it alone.