April 14, 2019

Rachel Strella

When Sharing Goes Too Far


In the last #Strella blog post, our Creative Director – Alex West – shared some insightful tips on embracing your personal presence on social media.  While many folks are reluctant to put themselves out there, Alex made a solid argument given the fierce competition in the labor market stating, “investing time and energy into putting your personal brand out there on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook can help prospective employers envision how you will fit in with their company culture.”

Alex knows first-hand. She secured an interview (and, subsequently, a job) based on what her employer saw when reviewing her online presence.

In the years I’ve written and spoken about the topic of personal branding, I’ve urged people to share themselves, but remain cautious that what you share online, never really disappears. Mark Schaefer once called social media, “The resume of your life.” He’s spot-on. The question to ask yourself is: does the resume of your life paint a picture of authenticity worth sharing?

By that I mean, can you remain authentic without going too far? For some, I think ‘too far’ is gray area. The immediacy of our posts and the reaction of our audience makes us almost immune to what’s appropriate.

If you’ve ever wondered what separates ‘being yourself’ from ‘oversharing,’ I’ve illustrated some quick examples.

Example 1

OK: Expressing genuine concerns and asking your community if they’ve ever felt the same way or experienced a similar situation.

Not OK: Sharing a 1,200-word rant about your son’s drug addiction.

Takeaway: While I feel for this situation, a place like Facebook is not the proper outlet to tell this story.

Example 2

OK: Taking a picture of yourself out and about.

Not OK: Snapping a selfie while on the can.

Takeaway: While 75% of Americans use their cell phone while on the toilet, employ common sense when posting pictures of yourself doing so. (I’ve seen people do this – really – don’t forget about mirrors in the bathroom, people!)

Example 3

OK: Sending a warm ‘happy birthday’ message to your child.

Not OK: Tagging your 8-year old child with a public profile on Facebook.

Takeaway: If you allow your kid to have a Facebook page, be cautious of the profile settings. Sadly, there are too many creeps who look for these accounts to prey on unsuspecting children.

Bottom line

It’s OK to share who you are, however, remain cognizant of the line that could take sharing too far. Add extra consideration when sharing anything that could reflect badly on the people you care about or put them in harm’s way.

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