Social media - it’s not just for Christmas

Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media
Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media

Christmas is a wonderful time for so many reasons. It’s a time of year we get to do things we can’t normally do for the rest of the year.

We get to wear silly jumpers in the office, buy each other gifts and for most office workers the pace does seem to slow down. Most businesses also organise a Christmas do, which can be a great way to let your hair down and quite often see a very different side to your boss and fellow workers.

I’ve attended Christmas parties for over 20 years and have seen some stuff, and done some things, I wouldn’t particularly care to talk about in this column. Thank goodness social media and smartphones didn’t exist in the 90s!

There is no getting away from the fact that we now live in a technological age.

Even if you aren’t on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, do something embarrassing at your Christmas party and there is a good chance it will end up online.

Fast forward a few months and perhaps you may be starting to look for another job or career move.

How will your prospective employer feel about seeing your drunken photos? In reality you’ll never know. Last year, the recruitment site Jobvite stated that 92 per cent of all employers checked out potential employees social profiles. I’m surprised its quite that high, but can certainly believe that at least half do.

The biggest non-no’s for businesses are excessive profanity, drunken images, sexual references and the worst is any kind of references to illegal drugs. Although according to the survey, 2 per cent found that to actually be a positive!

So what can you do to ensure that your (let’s hope) isolated behaviour after a few too many snowballs at the Christmas party doesn’t affect your career chances in the future?

1) Untag yourself on any Facebook photos posted by others that you feel are inappropriate.

2) Delete any posts or tweets that include swearing, sexual or drug references.

3) Consider changing the visibility settings on your Facebook and twitter pages to private or only allow access to friends and family.

4) Make sure there are lots of photos and tweets accentuating your positive aspects. In reality most employers or agencies are really scanning the most recent 10-20 posts.

5) If your social media profiles are a complete no-go, disaster area consider deactivating and starting again, or at least changing your full name on the accounts.

Some people say employers shouldn’t be looking at these profiles and if they can’t take you for who you are then so be it. That may be true, but it’s all about getting what you want out of social media.

The real day to day you is probably a little different and more of an asset than you may be displaying to the world.

If all else fails, take the grandma test. Would you be proud, embarrassed or otherwise if she saw your social media posts?

I hope you have an enjoyable and safe Christmas holiday.