Keep It Social, Stupid.

The above article talks about a new tool developed by an Australian start-up called The Social Index. It will help consolidate a potential employers’ ability to monitor your social media pretense.

As a current job seeker, this gave me a lot to think about.  We all know that employers are using social media to screen candidates.  In fact, I first got on social media in 2009 largely because I was out of work and being told it was a good aid in the job search. I was even told that not having a social media presence would make me look suspicious in the eyes of a hiring manager. So, why not help them find us? It makes sense.

I actually had a similar idea. As a recent graduate with a MA in Communications, I love working with social media and hope to get a job where social media marketing plays a large part. So, when putting together my résumé I included all of my personal links to social media.  I thought, why not put my money where my mouth is?

However, this approach has gotten mixed reviews. I know a lot of people are suspicious of social media. The lack of privacy is a big issue and I can just hear their outrage at this new proposal.

This tool will not report individual posts, but more of a tally of whether or not you are more positive or more negative with your social media use.

I’m not ashamed of my social media pages. I make sure that they represent me in a positive light.  If you are not using your social media in a positive way, you are probably misusing it.

I once had a New Media class where we read a scholarly article that spoke of reading someone’s Facebook page in terms of “conducting surveillance” on that person.  Clearly this author was concerned about someone being able to learn all about you without your knowledge.

But is this really what’s happening on social media? I don’t think so.

I think of social media as a new kind of party. If I went to a party where I didn’t know anyone, I would try to get to know people by engaging them in small talk. Small talk usually consists of casual interest items. The low hanging fruit that someone may learn when just getting to know you. Would it be appropriate to talk about favorite books, favorite music or favorite movies with people you only just met? Of course it would. Even if I did know people at that party, I would most likely not bring up excessively personal or controversial topics at that time.

That’s really all you are doing on social media. Instead of sharing this information verbally, I am sharing it on my social media pages. Instead of exchanging it with others one on one at that real-time party, I’m doing it more remotely or virtually.

In this digital age, you no longer have to physically go to that party. But you are connecting with people in basically the same way.

People reading your social media pages are doing it with your knowledge and your permission, whether you like it or not. Whether or not you are mostly a positive social media presence or mostly a negative social media presence can easily translate to what kind of party guest you would be and – what kind of employee you will make.

I actually like this idea. Simply put, social is the key to social media use. As in, keep it social, stupid.


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