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8 things you should never share on social media to protect your online reputation

For decades, technology has worked as a catalyst of change at workplaces. In recent times, social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, has revolutionised the way we work and network. But as the work environment changes and water cooler chit-chat gives way to “likes” and “recommendations”, the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to social media and the workplace is getting blurred.

Keep in mind this list of 8 don’t-ever-do’s in the digital realm to get ahead with a spotless online reputation.

Sharing too much information through the day

It’s important to know where to draw the line between your digital and personal life to protect your work reputation. Continuous posts about relationship problems, personal issues and others are a no-no. And really, employers don’t want to know if you’re milking a cow on Farmville, taking care or your sick puppy, feeling blessed at a temple or are in flirting mode at a friend’s party. When in doubt, less is more.

Complaining about your boss, job, co-workers or company
Social media may be for sharing, but putting your real feelings about the job you’re currently in or the relationship you share with your boss won’t do you any good. Any jabs or comments – no matter how thinly veiled they may be – are likely to be taken seriously by current and future employers. Even that innocuous Monday morning blues comment.

Posting a string of inappropriate partying pictures
Everyone enjoys an occasional picture of a night out. But when the pictures of pub crawls or shimmying at the disc on your timeline/feed drown everything else, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Would you rather channel The Hangover or Wall Street? The photos may have been taken on your own time, but no employer wants a party animal straining at the leash at the workplace.

Going on a complaining spree, time and again

Venting and ranting on your social networking platforms may seem to be the way to get your point across. But a timeline with more negatives, than positives works against your online personality. Give yourself a timeout before you post your tirade; chances are you may want to keep your emotions in check to avoid bad vibes around your online persona.

Sharing insider information that you are privy to
If your job involves a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement, keep in mind that it doesn’t work only in formal modes of communication. Revealing any confidential details on social media is sure to raise a red flag against you. Classified information on hiring, firing or appraisals also can’t be discussed – even in the most light-hearted way. If you aren’t authorised to share information, don’t.

Being part of extremely controversial conversations
Everyone has a right to their opinion, but desist from being overtly public with your views on topics that hold the potential of controversy. Religion, race, politics – these can divide opinions like nothing else, and it’s best not to broadcast an offensive opinion over the World Wide Web. Save it for real time, with real friends, for controversies could cost you a current job or a new one.

Leaving behind any kind of self-incriminating evidence
This one’s a no-brainer, but needs to be mentioned considering the kind of things people have posted on Facebook and Twitter. Rule of thumb: Don’t put up anything you wouldn’t do or say in front of a policeman. Photos/comments connecting you to any kind of illegal activity are the quickest way to sabotage your personal brand.

Networking determinedly for a new job
Social media platforms is a great way to reach out to and network with professionals and experts in your industry, but don’t be over aggressive. Repeated requests for recommendations, demands for job openings and mindlessly following an industry leader won’t land you a job; it’ll land you a reputation as a “harasser”. You need to use social media to enhance your career growth, not stifle it.

If there’s one rule that every professional should live by on social media, it’s this: Never post anything on your public profile that you aren’t comfortable sharing with the whole world. You never know when it may come back to haunt you.

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