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Social Media and Your Reputation

In this age of online access and immediate information flow, social media is a key tool both professionally and personally.  Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, the list of available channels to post, comment, and engage in conversation is growing exponentially.  Social media has become an integral tool in our lives. We use it to keep in touch with friends, family and to make new connections. Social media is this generation’s platform for their thoughts, ideas and opinions.

Never in history has there been such open access to an individual’s perspective.  This access provides the opportunity for people outside of your network to read all about you.  Are you comfortable with how you would be perceived, by someone you do not know, if they read your posts, status updates, followed you on Twitter or watched your latest YouTube video?

What is your online reputation?

Our thoughts, ideas and opinions are valuable, not just in a personal sense, but to potential employers, admissions committees, to any group or individual that is trying to make a judgment as to whether or not you are the “best fit” for a potential opportunity. Just as you should choose your words carefully in an interview, and portray yourself positively when writing an application, what you say online lives in cyberspace long into the future and is just a Google search away.

It should be obvious what should or should not be shared publicly. But, the convenience and availability to immediately share frustrations, complaints or strong opinions is tempting.   Just as you would phone your closest friend to complain about how difficult, complex or overwhelming an application is to fill out, it’s easier and quicker just to post it on Twitter.  Remember, the rest of the world can see it too – and they are looking.

Recently in Macleans, there was a story about a student’s Tweet regarding her very visceral, negative opinion of the application process to Ivey.  I am sure she was merely voicing frustration in the moment and never intended it to go further than her network of friends. The Ivey HBA program responded to her negative Tweet and this student’s chances of acceptance into this program were dashed in under 140 characters.

Be smart, be professional and be aware that anything you say online is there for the world to see.  Your reputation is at stake.

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