With over 225 million people networking on LinkedIn, 218 million chirpers on Twitter, and over 1 billion users on Facebook, it’s easy to assume that what you post on social media channels will get lost in the pile of, literally, millions of other updates, comments, shares and likes.  Your online presence is, especially in the technology-driven era we live in today, an important variable to consider when evaluating your personal brand.  Utilize social media to your advantage; creating an effective online presence is important, whether you are currently employed or not.

Rule #1: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

The beauty of online social media is that you have the ability to bypass anything that isn’t agreeable to you; that includes comments made by individuals who express a difference of opinion or belief, discussion topics you feel are silly, job listings that you aren’t interested in, or blog posts you feel may be of little relevance.  Do everyone a favor, and just keep scrolling through your newsfeed.  This doesn’t mean you can’t express your own difference of opinion, just be sure to do it in a diplomatic way.  If you really feel compelled to comment negatively, or “call someone out,” reply to their post privately (LinkedIn), send a Direct Message (Twitter), or a message to their inbox (Facebook).  Once it’s out on the internet, it’s out there forever.  Your online reputation is a culmination of these posts, comments and discussions, so ask yourself whether you want to be known for snarky comments or informative discussions.

Rule #2: Gather all of your information, then take next steps.

Discussions on LinkedIn often become extensive, especially if it’s a hot topic (like our post regarding Education v. Experience). Gathering all of your information means you’ve read the discussion post in its entirety, that is, the original comment or question posed by the author, and opened and read any links attached to the original post.  It also means checking the comments within the discussion; it’s possible someone may have already asked your question, and received an answer.  Asking the same question again reflects poorly because it seems as though you were too lazy to figure it out on your own, or to check.  It’s just one click.  Read.  Then Google.  Then read some more.  You may even learn a thing or two from the commentary of your peers.  And if you learn something valuable with your own research, share it with your peers.  Social media is supposed to be social.

Rule #3: Create a dialogue.

Did you learn a new trick for Excel macros? Share it on LinkedIn.  Hear an inspirational quote?  Tweet it and include a hashtag or two.  Social media networking is all about conversing with your peers to share powerful and engaging information with one another.  Ask questions about topics you are unsure of on varying platforms and read what other admins have to say.  Social media affords the opportunity to interact with professionals in other cities or countries, with varying backgrounds and experience levels—think of all the things you could learn!  Be a teacher yourself; search #assistantlife, #assistantproblems (especially if you want a good laugh) #ntfc (news from the cube), and respond to your fellow admins.  You never know if one of these casual connections could turn into an opportunity.


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