• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Personal Brands: Stop Giving it Away

    In case you don’t feel you’ve sufficiently waived your right to privacy, sign up for FriendShuffle. Once you connect this tool to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, your so-called friends and followers can see what web pages you opened and how long ago you opened them. We can join you or judge you, by clicking or not clicking on the near ubiquitous “Like” button.

    This is the mother load of dirt for recruiters, employers and clients everywhere.

    Everyone’s watching

    Your time sheet says you were working on the Jones account, and now we can tell that you were actually scoping out Star Wars action figures.

    Please stop rubbing our faces in what you aren’t getting done at work. How much you miss your old hometown – far away from this job! How you over-react to a small personal dilemma – car broke down: the world is coming to an end! Where you drink all night long, which explains why you come to the office near comatose.

    You sent the invite

    No, your security settings don’t protect you. Most of the time, you invited us, along with our clients, vendors, workmates and more – when you weren’t so loose-lipped. Even when you have not, it’s silly to believe we can’t find the information.

    BTW, there is no button allowing us the option to say what you Like is a “Career Ending Injury.” That’s a shame because oftentimes we feel a lot hotter than the missing DisLike button. What we want to say is: “Quit Doing This On Company Time” and “Quit Posting Stuff About Your Personal Life and Opinions” that negatively impacts how our clients see your character.

    Remember, just because we are forced into a one-zero world (either Like or nothing), that doesn’t mean we either like what you’ve been viewing and doing, or we don’t care. We could actually be furious with you.

    An employer’s challenge

    As an employer I am suffering mightily with my staff’s social media habits. I will soon add yet one more person whose trajectory with my firm was stunted because they over-shared personal details that reflect badly on their performance. The first person was a freelancer whom I paid in advance, and later found tweeting that she had nothing to do but hang out on her couch with her cat – failing to mention that she asked at least one of her clients (me) for a deadline extension because she was “overwhelmed with work.”

    I do nothing stealth. I receive invitations and I agree. Or, I follow you on Twitter because you signed up to follow me. Just a courtesy click, when you were on your best behavior.

    I have been quoted or featured in 420 media outlets clearly outlining the upsides, dangers, mistakes and consequences about over-sharing and social media behavior generally. Just last week, the New York Post interviewed me on exactly that.

    What I know isn’t a secret – in fact, last Sunday’s New York Times had another column on the fundamental guideline of “don’t post photos you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.” We all know the rules by now. It extends to your words, too.

    Personal brands: I’m officially taking the title of scold, when it comes to your social media behavior. I take that role because I want you to succeed because your social media presence reflects a personal brand you can be proud of – and your employers and clients can be proud of.  One that recruiters will see and say, “This is exactly the right person because she is steady when things get tough and she doesn’t fall apart. We can trust her.”

    You’re a public person

    Remember personal brands, you are a public person because you elect to use social media. You absolutely can choose to be as self-revealing as Kim Kardashian or Ashton Kutcher. I recommend you wait until you’ve inherited a fortune or can earn your keep by selling the rights to your life.

    Right now you are giving them away.

    Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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