In the last few weeks I’ve noticed that social media posts seem a bit more personal. And while as a marketing consultant, I guide clients to be open and authentic on social media platforms, there is such a thing as too much information. When sharing personal or professional topics, it’s important to recognize that not everyone who views your posts is your friend.
In one case, a management consultant I’ll call Sarah, is clear when accepting Friend Requests that she uses the platform to blow off steam sometimes. Fair warning. But when her cryptic messages appear to be client related or a rant against her former spouse or frustrations intended to reflect negatively on her children’s father, is she only communicating with those nearest and dearest to her? Probably not.
I’ve written about being Facebook Friends with my former husband but I would never use that platform to express any displeasure with him. I would (and have!) call up a girlfriend. You never know you will see your posts or how they may interpret them.
If you are a job seeker or hoping for a promotion you probably assume that would-be employers will Google you and view your LinkedIn profile. They will. But they may also try to view your Facebook profile. You can arrange your settings so those you are not “friends” with cannot see your “wall.”
The transparency and openness of social media allows us to feel more connected to people who are at a distance or those we want to establish a closer relationship with. For example, you can stay in closer contact to family members and friends at a distance. Which is definitely an advantage during (or after) a divorce. You can share your good news with your parents, reassuring them of how well you are doing during a difficult time. Your children may have an opportunity to build strong relationships with grandparents or family friends. And let’s not forget that you can share photographs (and report cards!) on a regular basis, not just from annual events.
Using social media appropriately gives you an opportunity to teach your children (and your friends) what is appropriate to share (good news, pictures of the family dog) and not (vacation plans, bickering with school friends).
Recently, I’ve given more thought to what I post. I am more aware of what my friends and peers may think and how it may reflect on our relationship and even my professionalism. While social media is a great tool to stay in touch with old friends and build relationships with business associates, remember that not everyone who sees your posts is your friend. Use the platforms appropriately and share your expectations and guidelines with your children.