Creating a global brand is an important part of marketing ourselves to future employers and developing the overall sense of what makes us unique compared to other candidates. One of the many ways we can do this is by creating a strong presence on social media (including business related sites like LinkedIn and About.me).
These professional sites are great for networking and looking for jobs, but when it comes to our personal social media sites, the rules for creating a global brand are a little different. We have to decide at what cost we want to form these personal brands.
The – “at what cost,” in this scenario refers to the way we may lose our own authentic personality in the attempt to create a professional brand. Social media gives us the opportunity to spread our voice and opinions to a mass audience, but in fact, we have to carefully edit, (I might even go as far to say, censor) our true thoughts or reactions to maintain the brand.
One of the most obvious examples of this is political preference. I can think back to early journalism classes and hearing professors tell us to carefully manage what we say online to promote the journalistic qualities of objectivity. It seemed strange at the time to be discouraged from posting anything personal on personal social media.
Keeping that in mind, I think most of us can also recognize how our social media and online presence can make or break our careers. Most of us have seen horror stories about people posting either personal, or inappropriate things online, and ultimately losing their jobs.
Even companies have seen how big blunders can create national backlash. These examples have made us even more careful about what we say online, where (potentially) anyone with internet access is our “audience”
Since many of us aim to be journalists in the future, I think the added pressure to remain objective and professional influences our social media habits. Having said that, being able to manage our brand now, before our careers really begin also gives us the opportunity to decide how we will be portrayed, rather than ending up on the wrong side of something we said back in high school.
Social media is just one more tool in the global branding kit, and if used properly, it can help set us apart.