"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

6 Social Media Blunders Freelancers Should Avoid


There’s no doubt about it: social media is the rage.
Everybody who’s anybody is on board. From stay at home moms, to pop icons, to politicians.
Even Donald Trump has his own “virtual” real estate and Twitter profile.

For freelancers, it’s a great way to “make friends and influence people.” Not to mention, to increase exposure exponentially.
But, just like money, it can be good or bad depending upon how it‘s used.

Proper discernment is the key to a “profitable” experience.

Take for instance, accounts of a politician who once garnered “unwanted” attention, by allegedly baring it all in salacious activities over the Internet.

Or who could forget in a “Ripley’s-believe-it-or-not moment,” the woman who was identified and subsequently arrested for posting pictures of shoplifted merchandise to her FaceBook page?
Horror stories abound.

With this in mind, here are six sins to avoid, in the interest of reputation management and career maintenance:

1. Being too free with your “freedom of speech” rights.
Think before you comment. Things spouted in anger over the Internet, verbal warfare, and kiss and tell chronicles have a way of hunting and hurting you for years to come. Choose your words wisely.

2. Mixing business with pleasure.
Unless you impose certain privacy settings on your accounts, consider that anybody in the general public can view your activities-- daily, weekly, monthly. This includes potential clients, colleagues, and competitors. Would you want them all to know equally about your private life with your live-in lover? Your “happy hour” escapades? Or perhaps dysfunctional family dynamics? Exercise prudence here.

3. Posing for provocative pictures.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but all it takes is the wrong one to undermine your professionalism and send the wrong message. You may want to make sure that your “Kodak Moments” are P-G rated. :-)

4. Being too “public” with private information.
Things like your home address, your home number, complete birthday, credit card info, and financial status. Why? Because identity theft is rampant, and you want to err on the side of caution. According to Spendonlife.com, there were 10 million people affected by Identity Theft in 2008.

5. Using profanity.
Not everyone is liberal-minded or accepting of this. To some it’s even offensive.

6. Bad-mouthing clients in public forums and bulletin boards.
It’s okay to do your “garden-variety” gripe a little, or to present a situation that has been problematic in order to solicit support and needed answers. But, never use specific info, or violate a client privilege. The world is smaller than you think!

When social media is used wisely, it can work wonders. Just make sure that your “15 minutes of fame” reflects positively on you and your career. Making good decisions makes good business sense, and ultimately means greater earning potential and longevity in years to come.

Thoughts?

IMAGE Stock Photo

14 comments:

  1. SO agree with all you said AND my EX boss was angry and offended that I shared info about my serious injury on FB and let's just say she is after all NOW an EX boss. Nuff said.

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  2. Jennifer:
    A friend was so open on FB that she would post what her future plans were. She posted about going on a retreat (before she went.) The first night she was gone, her house got robbed. She lost her laptop. The thing is she thinks she knows who did it. She learned some valuable lessons through this experience.

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  3. Yes, a agree with you on this. I am always afraid of posting too much information on the web when I write. You don't know who's reading, and waiting to collect information.

    I still haven't worked up the nerve to post pictures of my daughter online. I think I just want to keep that private.

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  4. Fantastic post! I'm going to print it out for my bulletin board. I completely agree with you on all fronts, especially being to free with "freedom of speech." I can't believe some of the things I've ended up reading on other writing blogs, or rude comments on my own facebook page for writers. It honestly blows my mind the attitude adjustments that are needed by some.

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  5. It seeems like young people freely share too much information without realizing the consequences.

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  6. Hi Dawn,

    Sorry to hear about your injury and the unfortunate situation with your boss. It continues to amaze me just how popular social media is. :-) Thanks, as always, for your feedback.

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  7. Quietspirit,

    How have you been? Good to have you back. :-)
    I can understand where you're coming from here.
    A friend I know had somthing similar happen. He and his wife posted on FB their honeymoon plans, before they left their hometown.

    When they returned, someone had broken in and cleand them out. A lot of people don't realize that not everyone uses social media forums for "friendly intentions."

    Prudence is crucial. Thanks for weighing in.
    Your comments are always valued here.

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  8. Hi Kalley,

    Welcome! I bet your daughter is lovely. :-) Keep in mind that with some of the s.m. platforms you can opt for some "privacy settings" so your photos are shared with a select few.

    Thanks for adding to the mix. Don't be a stranger. :-)

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  9. Hi Krissy,

    What a pleasure to have you here! I've seen your work around the Net. Dig your site.

    I agree with you about some folks'
    attitudes. :-)
    Feel free to pin this to your bulletin board. Glad you found the tips useful.
    Have a great 2012!

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  10. Linda,

    You are on point here. A few months ago, a college counselor and I were trying to share with a young lady how potential employers and even college recruiters actually look at s.m. pages like FB to assess an individual's character and activities. She insisted that it wasn't fair, and refused to let that govern her behavior. Oh well...we tried. :-)

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  11. Wise words, Jennifer! I think we live in an age of TMI - not just for decorum's sake but for safety as well. Number 5 especially struck a chord with me - I don't think profanity is necessary to communicate well. Besides, it just pads the word count, something we often look to avoid. :)

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  12. Well stated, Karen! Thanks for sharing. :-)

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  13. Happy New Year, all these tips are good and helpful.

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  14. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 7, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    Thanks, Cynthia. Good to hear from you in your corner of the world. :-)

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