The Social Media Balancing Act

Businesspeople in a meetingAt least once a day my brain goes for the e-brake to prevent me from putting my foot in my mouth on Twitter. Honestly, who cares about the guy snoring/drooling on me during my commute? I also make a mental note to check Facebook on Sunday nights to see what pictures need untagging from the weekend. Trust me, they aren’t reminiscent of Girls Gone Wild but the pictures from the latest PRBreakfastClub karaoke night aren’t very flattering either. For the people who think I sound ridiculous I suggest you read Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck. In it he explains that our resume is much more than a piece of paper.

Vaynerchuck believes our tweets, comments on Facebook, and blog posts are our resumes now. Is that crazy? I constantly battle balancing between keeping my digital resume professional while remaining true to myself. If you look at my tweet stream I don’t only participate in PR chats. You’ll see me dabbling in my guilty pleasures like #idol or #madmen. That means you’ll find me discussing my favorite cocktail that reminds me of the fabulous characters in MadMen and how crazy women can be in The Bachelor. Try this for an example: Google my twitter handle (stina6001) and #madmen. You’ll find out my favorite cocktail. An HR person may find that funny or a bit of an overshare.

Will that really affect my future opportunities? Yes. According to a survey commissioned by Microsoft to see how online reputations impact our lives, it does matter. They interviewed 1,200 hiring and recruitment managers and 1,200 consumers in the U.S., U.K, Germany and France. The survey found 79 percent of U.S. hiring managers and job recruiters researched job applicants online and 70 percent actually rejected candidates based on what they found.

Now I’m not so crazy, right? My favorite thing about Crush It! is that Vaynerchuck stays true to who he is. If you follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his blog you wont find a watered down version of him. His audience, fans and friends know what to expect. If someone stumbles upon the site and doesn’t like what they hear, he’s not about to change for that one person. I completely agree with him but it’s not that easy when you’re starting to build your reputation.

My friends try to live by the rule: Would you want your parents to see/hear/read that? Well that doesn’t apply to everyone, especially not me. Instead I live by the rule: If what you’re going to say is something you would be embarrassed to say aloud, then you should probably refrain. And I always live by respect, especially online. If I disagree with someone’s point of view, thats fine, I want to remain respectful.

Do you agree with Gary Vaynerchuck? How do you balance being yourself and professional at the same time?

(Note: Another great post on the topic: Yes, Virginia, HR Execs Check Your Facebook Page on GigaOM)

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