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Professionalism in Your Social Media

April 4, 2018

Is your professionalism reflected in your social media?

Have you thought about your social media and how it reflects on you?  Just because you leave the veterinary hospital in the evening, doesn’t mean your professionalism should be left at the hospital as well.

Your vision of a professional

Take a moment, close your eyes and think of the word “professional.” Who pops into your head as being someone who exhibits professional behavior?

Was it you? If no, why not? You should consider yourself a professional in all aspects of your life, including social media.

Your Facebook Page

When was the last time you critically evaluated what you post on your social media sites?

Whether you actively use social media to market your skills or casually (as most of us do), every time you post on a social media site, you are leaving a lifelong impression. What is your social outreach saying about you and your career?

First, let’s take a peek at your Facebook page. ALWAYS, and I rarely use that word, consider your Facebook page and posts as public! ALWAYS consider how your posts will be seen in light of professionalism or lack of it.

NEVER (another word I rarely use) post comments about drug use, slander, or derogatory statements about your past or current employer. Because there have been court rulings (see example below), err on the side of caution.

And the verdict is…

The following case study was quoted in a blog titled “Implication of Abusing Social Media in the Workplace” as reported on Jobsite Career Development on April 3, 2015.

It reads as follows…

In a recent case, a Mr. Weeks who was a former employee at telecoms company EE, made frequent references to the workplace as ‘Dante’s Inferno’. He was subsequently reported to the company by his ‘Facebook friend’ (who also happened to be his work colleague) for both being in breach of the company’s social media policy and because the comments were influencing other staff who were also his online friends.

Mr. W was given warnings, but continued to make comments about how he disliked where he worked – even though the company wasn’t mentioned by name. He failed to stop posting adverse comments and even made harassing and bullying Facebook comments against the colleague he suspected of reporting him. The tribunal held that Mr. W’s dismissal as a result of his Facebook postings was fair.

Questions to ask yourself regarding rules of etiquette
  1. “Is this thoughtful or thoughtless?”
  2. “Is this considerate or inconsiderate?”

In the article, Facebook Etiquette, 5 Dos and Don’ts, it critically assesses four areas concerning your online reputation. After all, it takes a lot of effort to maintain your good status, and only a small blunder to ruin it, either personally or professionally.

Here are the key “thoughtful” points that the article addresses.

  • Even though Facebook may be more causal than LinkedIn, it’s wise to choose a more professional-looking profile picture
  • Fill out the biography with short and concise information that highlights your activities within reason
  • Connect with organizations, links and news that reflect your interests and industry and establishes positive connections
  • Post information that appeals to a wide audience since you probably have more than one follower
  • Finally, use a tone and words that you would feel comfortable saying in person since you never know who is reading your page

Your social media is an extension of you. Make sure what you are putting out there to the world is the way you want them to see you.

Consider placing the topic of professionalism on your upcoming team meeting agenda, ask your team to read the Blog, then share their thoughts. This may be a good time to review your hospital’s policy on social media. Open the dialog and see where it goes.

Here’s to your professional social media image

Rebecca Rose, CVT