Who are you perceived as on Social Media?; Mistakes to public image from posting the wrong information


Nicole Zukowski, Life, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Horror stories about how someone somewhere posted a status or uploaded a picture on their personal social media accounts that lead them to somehow being fired from their job have floated around for years now.

It could happen though.

In this generation, social media matters a great deal to employers. Everyone is reading tweets, looking at pictures on Instagram and scrolling through Facebook. Family members, friends, bosses and even future employers will check your social media accounts.

“IBM calculated that 2.5 quintillion bites of information are captured on the internet each day and most of this information is created through social media,” Assistant Professor at the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, Kathleen Houlihan said.

Many jobs today have to deal with maintaining social media accounts for companies and organizations.

“Digital communication is only going to intensify and it will change the way every individual works and plays in the new era. Therefore, students using social media should understand it is important to be precise, have a specific goal and a targeted audience for their message,” Houlihan said. “Establishing an identity in the virtual world is inexpensive yet time consuming, but it offers a great benefit for individuals beginning their career.”

When hired for a job in social media, it is important to be conscious of what is going on in the virtual world along with the physical world. Representing a company online is an important job because the public image of the company could be tarnished with just one irresponsible status update.

Two weeks ago, DiGiorno Pizza accidentally tried to advertise their pizza in a hashtag on twitter that was trending for domestic violence. While people were posting “#WhyIStayed, with courageous and heartfelt tweets of their ordeals with domestic violence, DiGiorno tweeted “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”

After DiGiorno’s tweet surfaced, people grew furious. Many users tweeted how appalled they were at the company.

To manage the entire backlash, DiGiorno tweeted an apology saying that they did not bother learning what the hashtag meant before using it. The company even went further with tweeting out to everyone that shared their #WhyIStayed stories.

“The world of social media is often more forgiving than other types of media when it comes to mistakes or untended posts. Every intention should be made to avoid these circumstances,” Houlihan said. “When something extremely negative occurs using social media, the individual should acknowledge the error, apologize if the post did actual harm to others and then remove the post.”

After DiGiorno apologized and handled the situation with the level of respect that they did, the whole incident soon became news of the past.

When that much data is produced daily, news on social media moves quick. There a short shell live for news on social media of a couple hours. Once something is put out on the web it will soon be piled on with new statuses or pictures, quickly making it old news.

With maintaining personal accounts, if someone wants to get a feel for your online image they will dig deep on your pages.

Good news Houlihan adds “There are isolated instances where social media has been very harmful to individuals; however these are the exception rather than the rule.”

Have a social media account. however, could advance your career if maintained properly.

“Social media is a tool to help us present our professional identity and perhaps a glimpse of our social selves.  It can be very helpful to build virtual networks, interact with communities of professionals who share our interests, and to create opportunities through our own sharing of content and ideas,” Dr. Anne Batory, Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, said.

Batory went on to say, “It is extremely important to be aware that all social media is public. Even when our accounts are private the content is available via back door access or sharing via our friends.”

It is better to be social media conscious then social media regretful.