Professionalism in Social Media

Tomorrow, both Ignite Director Caitlin Ludwig and I will be leading a series of sessions for high schoolers about “Professionalism in Social Media.” When we met to discuss the content of our presentations, we came up with a pretty good list of Dos & Don’ts for using social media, especially with regards to professional life.

Here is the list we came up with. What advice would you give to someone beginning to use social media and also at the very beginning of building a career?


Professionalism in Social Media
It’s important to remember that whatever you put online STAYS ONLINE!  Think of your online information in regards to your potential audience rather than your immediate audience.  Here’s a few keys to remember!


  •  Your online profile page has privacy settings that must be manually set.  Use these to monitor who sees what on your page.  Create lists and assign people accordingly.
  • Remember your potential audience.  You never know who might be friends who with whom or who is in the same group as another friend of yours.  What you post has a wide scope.  Keep it clean and keep it legal.
  • Assume your boss/principal/grandma knows exactly what your posting.  Chances are, one day they will.
  • Control your pictures.  Control what’s in them and what you’re tagged in.  If it’s illegal (obviously, you shouldn’t be doing it then), don’t take a picture of it.  Even more so, don’t post it.


  • While it’s not appropriate to friend a professor or boss on Facebook, it is appropriate to link to them on LinkedIn.
  • Do not link your personal Facebook or Twitter accounts to LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is for professional use only.  If it’s personal, keep it off.
  • Feel free to recommend others who have been professionally successful or have accomplished.  What goes around comes around and recommendations are great!
  • Keep your information up to date.  Anything you load with applications (Resume app, What I’m reading app, etc.) needs to be maintained.  If it’s not maintained, remove it.


  •  You have 180 characters – use them wisely.  If it’s illegal, inappropriate or just down-right dumb, don’t link to it.
  • You have very few privacy options on Twitter.  People choose to follow you and you don’t have much say in the matter.  Remember that anyone can follow you at any time.


  • Google will eventually become your online resume.
  • Google yourself every now and then.  What did you find?  What can you do to change it?
  • Set your Google alerts so you are aware of when new search results contain your name.

Remember – What you put online today can find you tomorrow.  Be smart and remember your potential audience.  Don’t make fun of your boss, your company or your join a group you may later regret.

For more information, contact IGNITE at, visit or find our Facebook page, IGNITE Rockford.


~ by Anthea on October 7, 2010.

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