It’s the 21st century, folks: We all know companies are scoping out the World Wide Web to determine our online behavior. From Facebook tags to our YouTube channels, everything we do is out in cyberspace for anyone—including potential employers—to observe. You may be more careful about what’s on your Facebook page these days, but what about Twitter? According to careerbuilder.com, 45 percent of employers use social networks to research job applicants and 7 percent of them are following said applicants on Twitter. We filled you in on how to keep your virtual presence clean and how to use Twitter to get a job, and now we’ve gathered ways for you to use Twitter in a professional manner so you won’t embarrass yourself before you even get the job—read on!
Do share—this is social media, after all!
When it comes to Twitter, it’s all about authenticity. “People want to share with a real person, not a bot or a mindless program,” explains social-media researcher and adviser Mo Krochmal. So when it comes to sharing your daily adventures like hanging with your boyfriend or catching a movie, go for it! But as Krochmal suggests, you should make sure you feel comfortable having anyone read your words. “This tool is a very public sharing platform—so if you don't want to see your words on a billboard, or the top story in the Daily News, keep it to yourself,” he says.
Avoid any Twitter drama (Dritter?) by sharing things you’re passionate about whether it’s magazines or women’s education. “For every eight tweets about interesting news stories, trends, or someone else's great tweets, there [should be] one that's all about you,” says Krochmal.
GOOD TWEET: “At @zagat acclaimed restaurant with my @cutieboyfriend, #italianfood is my favorite!”
BAD TWEET: “F**CKIN’ BEST PARTY EVER!!! DUDE NEXT TO ME IS WAY HOT!”
Keep venting and cursing to a minimum
Sure, your colleagues and supervisors will want to see your personality beyond the workplace, but using social media as a means of complaining or cursing can often be viewed as immature. “The trick on Twitter is to be yourself, but to represent yourself at your very best,” says Krochmal. “You can vent and complain [to an extent] but do it in ways that reflect a professional adult approach, not just because it feels so naughty to have your four-letter rant retweeted,” he says. Try entering “Your name+Twitter” into Google to see which of your past tweets have been displayed already. “Before you hit that ‘post’ button, take a second to reflect. Think about an employer or someone that has to make a decision on you, based on what they see—It's all there.”
Have a sailor’s mouth? Cursebird.com shows tweets in real time using profanity and the percentage of certain curse word’s usage. It’s pretty shocking to see how many people are using Twitter for the wrong purpose! For your career and your followers’ sakes: Limit any whining or frustrations to Skype sessions with your BFF or a personal and private blog.
Don’t insult anyone
Just sayin’. Not everything you say or feel about someone has to be published on the web, especially if it’s hurtful or offensive. According to The Huffington Post, a woman named Connor Riley lost a job opportunity because of a tweet she posted after an interview with Cisco Systems. She revealed, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” A Cisco employee found the tweet and wrote: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” When it comes to your career and making a positive impression, stick with being professional.
Don’t lie or gossip
It’s a sacred rule of journalism for good reason: Don’t fabricate the truth! Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise was suspended from his duties in August of this year after claiming that Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for five games instead of six. According to The Huffington Post, he said his bosses felt that he needed a month to consider the severity of his actions. When you’re a trusted source, fabricating the truth opens up opportunities for defamation and libel. Whether you’re a journalist or simply a college student, employers want to see that you’re taking your role as a participant of social media seriously.
If you’d like, keep your tweets private
Rather avoid all of the trouble? Keep your tweets private. This lets you restrict who can follow you as they must seek your permission to follow your feed. Though others can’t retweet your updates directly, it’s still possible to “quote tweet” or simply copy and paste, so do monitor your followers if you opt for this option. Ultimately, it prevents your tweets from being pulled into a third party site that you can’t control. Just head to: Settings > Account > Check “Protect Tweets.”
There you have it, HCers! Are you a Twitterholic? Share your favorite things about the powerful social media site in the comments section below!
Mo Krochmal, New York City-based social media researcher and adviser [@krochmal]
Oregon Business Report
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post