Using Social Media Personally and Professionally

Last year I sat down with my adviser and set up a graduation plan. I could have arranged to graduate this spring, but I didn’t feel like I’d be ready for the “real world” that soon. I will instead be graduating Spring 2013, and I am happy to say that although my skills have improved immensely over the past year, I still feel that graduating next year is a good idea. Both in school and in my internship, one of my biggest difficulties has been learning to effectively use social media in a way that balances personal interests with career-type interests.

Mashable recently had an article, “9 Ways Students Can Use Social Media to Boost Their Careers“, which I found incredibly helpful. I have heard most of these suggestions before, but being able to read them and perhaps read a second time is helpful to me. Take a look at the article, but I’ll tell you the three that stood out most to me.

First, it is okay to still post personal stuff! If you’re a student and only posting career-related stuff it can make you seem unapproachable. Everyone knows that you’re going to have real-life friends as connections on Twitter or elsewhere, “but refining your language, highlighting content and information that’s more career-focused, and connecting and conversing with more people outside your immediate group of friends signifies that you’re interested in more than just the personal.”

This can remain true even when trying to be more professional! I also just wanted another post with a Dr. Seuss quote.

When I’m interacting with my family and friends, I tend to be heavy on sarcasm. Every now and then I come across someone who doesn’t understand it and I make a mental note to keep things straight-forward. I’ve been hesitant to be sarcastic online because of some past experiences with text messaging where people thought I was serious and that was 381% not the case; the problem with text is that there is no tone of voice. Anyway this article is clear that sarcasm is just fine if it’s something you would say to someone face-to-face; likewise if you would not say something face-to-face do not say it. Luckily for me, I’m generally a nice person and don’t say mean things :-)

Something I need to do more, and am encouraged to do so now that I’ve read this article, is interact with professionals online. It gives you a better understanding of the area, but also showcases that you already have a base knowledge and interpersonal skills. Interacting with professionals can even (will according to the article) get you a “once-over” from possible future employers.

I like social media, and I’ve learned SO much over the past year about how to use it effectively. The article on Mashable made me feel confident that I’m mostly doing it right, and good suggestions on how to improve my efforts. I hope you all learned something, too!