How many times do we have to hear that what we post on Facebook matters?  A Facebook page creates risk and can undermine a career or personal standing in the community if it appears inconsistent with our public persona. Social media web sites are part of our personal brand (read: reputation) and conveys a great deal about who we are and how we conduct ourselves. Imagine this scenario (drawn from a real life example):

There are two candidates for an executive position in finance – a key person with access to an organization’s assets. The two are neck and neck. Excellent colleges. Deep community service. Calls to their references are absolutely glowing. Then a Google search finds both LinkedIn and Facebook listings with public photos.

LinkedIn is consistent with their resumes – all-business and good vibes.

Candidate A, however, has a slight edge based on years of experience. But, the cover photo on his Facebook page is a party-hearty shot of him hoisting a cool one at a boisterous party. Among his “likes” are a couple of bars and another photo of a pyramid made from Chivas Regal boxes.

Candidate B also has a Facebook page. Hers is strictly family photos, school activities and community service.

To whom would you give the edge?


The same can apply to email addresses. An admissions officer from an Ivy League university tells the story of a student on the cusp of being admitted – but the committee needed something extra to make their decision among their finalists. All it took was the kid’s email address: [email protected]. The kid’s application was toast.

Your personal brand influences decisions that can help or harm you. Insurance agents in Maine and New Hampshire routinely scan the web when gathering information about the risk a person or business may pose. After all, insurance is the transfer of risk.

Also consider that what you or your children post are subject to claims of liability, defamation and slander. These are conversations to have with the person in the mirror as well as your children who are only just entering the realities that life brings forth in this cyber age.

Give your social media pages another look and ask yourself: Is this something I’d want my boss or parents to see?

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