How to Avoid Becoming a Social Media Cautionary Tale

Whether it’s Cisco Fatty, the FedEx ad-agency guy or your former cubicle neighbor who now is pursuing an exciting career as a freelance landscaper, we’re all familiar with the sad stories of people who have been hurt professionally by ill-advised tweets or embarrassing photos posted on Facebook.

Still, it never hurts to be reminded that what shows up online is very public information that can be found by current and prospective employers. So here’s another reminder, courtesy of an excellent article at on how to avoid becoming someone I’ll name-check next time I write about social networking cautionary tales.

It’s a fairly long article, but well worth the read, so you might want to defer your sexting for awhile to check it out. It includes some Richmond-centric social networking blunders as well as tips on “top online turnoffs” and how to clean up your cyber image, should it need a makeover.

Here are a few (from the article and yours truly):

* Social media isn’t shore leave, so no profanity. (Personally, I think this rule depends on your profession. If you’re a high school teacher, keep it clean, mister; if you’re a comedy writer, WTF, let your freak flag fly.)

* No big fat lies about your career, education or current job. Remember, anyone can go right to Wikipedia to find the list of actual U.S. presidents.

* In general, naked pictures are imprudent (porn stars exempt from this rule).

* Internet user, Google thyself. You need to see what others can see about you. Because if you think “Where do you want to be in five years?” is a tough interview question, try explaining why you were voted the “Satyr of Spring Break” three years running.