Social Media Etiquette

Being Internet savvy
can have its perks

By Britney Munguia

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are online tools that students should be using to their advantage, say two Texas State social media experts.

But students also need to remember to proceed with caution, say Kym Fox and Cindy Royal, who both are lecturers in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

They offered their insights into the new forms of media:

Facebook

For recent and soon-to-be Texas State graduates, job hunting is a daunting task, and it’s made more complicated by the existence of Facebook. More and more, potential employers are looking at Facebook profiles for insight into job applicants’ lives.

“If you primarily use your Facebook as a social space, make your profile private,” says Fox, senior lecturer. “That doesn’t guarantee your privacy, but it can offer a bit of a buffer.”

Royal offered some advice for job-seekers as well.

“Students should avoid submitting the obvious things, photos that show them in a compromising light, comments that could be taken out of context, any flaming or mean-spirited discourse,” says Royal.

Twitter

Building a personal brand has never been easier, thanks to Twitter. Fox says students can use the 140 characters in a Tweet to establish themselves as thoughtful leaders online.

“Tweet with a purpose,” says Fox. “Become an expert or resource in a particular area.”

You should tweet about events that you’re interested in, especially if it relates to your career field. Properly used hash tags can help build a following and strike up conversations that can establish users as thought leaders.

Using hash tags properly also can put Tweets in trending topics across the world.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great place for networking, and often is used by companies to find potential employees through online resumes, plus lists of practical skills and experience.

The number one tip for using a LinkedIn account is to keep it up to date, Royal says.

“Use it to keep in touch with professionals you meet as you begin the job search and then stay current as your professional network grows.”

Blogs

“A blog is really just a publishing tool. Use it to become a resource to others,” says Fox.

Blogging is an excellent way to showcase one’s work, writing abilities, interests and passions.

The best way to engage an audience through a blog is by creating content that is interesting, and is posted on a regular basis, she says.

Royal says that having a blog can have other benefits, too.

“I think employers like to hire people who have explored a passionate hobby,” says Royal. “Posting on a regular basis and designing a nice interface are important, but the most satisfying aspect of blogging is becoming a part of a community of others who are interested in the same things.”

Key messages

  • Social media outlets can be used personally and professionally, but be aware that any content is public.
  • Tweet with a purpose, not for the sake of tweeting.
  • Update blogs with creative and unique content.
  • Keep networking sites up to date.
  • Create a trifecta of social media — link everything together.
  • Show passions, hobbies and interests through social media.

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