Tag Archive: twitter

Safe Social Networking

Social media has undeniably become a crucial part of modern life.  From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, social networking sites have the power to connect friends and family around the world.

But they can also have dangerous side effects.

In this age of communication, it is more important than ever to monitor your behavior and appearance on social networking sites.  Whether it’s the incriminating pictures of drunken, late-night revelries or one too many curse words in your Tweets, you may not be putting your proverbial best foot forward online.

Your social networking profiles can shape others’ perceptions of you – including potential employers’.  Worst of all, once something is put on the Internet, the damage may be permanent.  Though it may seem trivial now, posting graphic details about college exploits could be embarrassing when you’re applying for jobs down the line (case in point:  the recent Duke PowerPoint incident).

A few essential steps must be taken to keep your online profiles appropriate:

-Keep it classy in photos.

Drinking is obviously illegal for those under the age of 21.  If you’re going to drink anyway, make sure it isn’t photographed and put online for all to see.  Even if you are of legal age, no employer wants to hire someone who has drunk-eye and/or is dancing on tables in every other photo. When friends are taking pictures, put down your drink or at least hold it out of sight of the camera.  In the event that someone snaps one too many pictures of you collapsed in a heap on the floor, detag the photos and politely beg your friend to remove the evidence ASAP.

And if that’s the case, it’s probably best to avoid drinking altogether.

-Monitor your Facebook wall.

Everyone has at least one friend with a tendency to post inappropriate comments on his or her wall.  Swear-word-ridden, substance-abuse-referencing posts may seem funny at the moment, but you may not be laughing if those quotes resurface later on.  Be careful about what you let others post on your wall.  Even more importantly, make sure that what you post on others’ walls isn’t something you’ll regret in the future.

-Watch your language.

It doesn’t look particularly professional to write Tweets or Facebook statuses involving illegal substances, sexual behavior, crude language, derogatory language, etc.  Think through what you want to say before you allow your hundreds – or thousands – of friends/followers to read it.

-Alter your privacy settings.

Protect your Tweets.  Limit what others can see on your Facebook profile, including pictures, wall posts and videos.  Be careful about who you friend on Facebook or who follows you on Twitter.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

A Start-Up Guide to Twitter

Twitter. We’ve been told that we need to use it to be successful communicators, but where do we start? How do we build up a base of followers and network with professionals when we’re just getting started?

The great thing about Twitter is that it is relatively easy to learn as you go. There is a fantastic network of people out there who are willing to help guide you through this process, but you can’t be afraid to jump right in.

I first started tweeting on April 7, 2009. My first tweet was “2009 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!”

Clearly, a lot has changed in the past year. I have more than 700 followers and am approaching 2,000 tweets. I update multiple Twitter accounts, multiple times a day. So in honor of my one-year Twitter anniversary, I’ll be posting a few tips over the next few days to help you use Twitter to do more than just complain about Duke.

  1. Be professional. With Facebook, you can easily edit your privacy settings so that you can control which people see your content. There is no good way to do this with Twitter (unless you make your entire profile protected, which almost defeats the purpose of putting your thoughts out there).  Anyone can see what you post, so even if you’re sharing a joke with a friend, make sure it’s something you wouldn’t mind a future employer seeing. Also try to avoid unnecessary abbreviations. I know it’s hard to say what you need to in 140 characters, but Twitter isn’t AIM, so remember to keep it classy.
  2. Follow industry leaders. Whether you’re a public relations major or not, there are so many valuable people to connect with on Twitter. Twitter has become a great way for me to keep up with the latest industry news. Not only can you learn about important happenings in your field, you can get some great networking tips and even learn about a few job openings. While we learn a lot in the classroom, most of my real-world public relations knowledge has come from what I picked up on Twitter
  3. Don’t be afraid to NOT follow everyone who follows you. You will get some random followers sometimes, but don’t feel obligated to follow them back unless they regularly tweet about something that genuinely interests you. Following too many people will just clog up your tweet stream and make it difficult to find relevant information. Make sure that those you follow are saying something you want to listen to.
  4. Use hashtags (#). I was amazed at the number of people who didn’t understand what a hashtag was. You’ll frequently see the little number sign before a word or phrase on Twitter, but some people don’t understand their importance. Hashtags allow for easier searching and help determine trending topics. You can use hashtags as a way to connect with people who are talking about the same things as you.
  5. Use a desktop application to manage the stream of information. I downloaded TweetDeck because I had five Twitter accounts I managed for various organizations and it became a pain to have to log in and out of all of these different accounts. TweetDeck allows me to update multiple accounts at once, without having to log in or out. It also lets me monitor what people are saying about topics that interest me (such as #prssa, #bateman, @heelprintcomm). These applications allow you to make the most of Twitter, and easily organize the information that interests you.

– Amy Dobryznski

Have you Googled yourself today?

I realized I was finally growing up when I developed a new obsession. Gone are the days of outrageous shopping (I used to live at Nordstrom), constant TV watching (I totally forgot about the Grey’s Anatomy season premier ), and spending my Saturday afternoons enthralled in hours of College Football (even Carolina games are trying my patience – Hakeem Nicks, we need you back). Instead, I find myself constantly tweeting, looking for connections on LinkedIn, and (you guessed it) blogging.

I confess: A year ago, I didn’t even know what Twitter was. Even a few weeks ago, I didn’t have any real interest in blogging. But as of Tuesday, I am officially captivated. My name is Amy Dobrzynski, and I am a social media addict.

It all started when Kelly Giles (former President of Blue & White) came to talk to Carolina Public Relations Student Society of America. And it probably didn’t help that I was surrounded by seniors who were all starting to freak out about getting (or not getting) jobs. But when I learned that it’s not really your impressive resume that lands you the job, I was floored.

So, humor me for a second. Open up Google. Type in your name. What kind of results show up?

I am one of the lucky ones. There is only one Amy Dobrzynski out there, and you’re looking at her. My Google results are pretty straightforward (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, my blog, various entries from The Daily Tar Heel and Blue & White, etc.). But I’m guessing most of you aren’t having the same luck. And chances are that your future employers are going to be Googling you as well.

So how do we change the lack of Google results and increase our chances of getting hired? By developing an online presence through social media.

Here are a few tips from an (albeit fairly new) social media enthusiast:

1. Facebook – keep it private. You are not going to stop your friends from posting inappropriate things on your wall, and you definitely don’t want to risk your employers seeing it. Facebook should be your social outlet, so let’s keep it that way. (Sidenote – University Career Services friended me on Facebook the other day. I didn’t even know they knew what that was.)

2. Twitter – I know we all love bashing Lindsay Lohan, but what does that say about you as a person, besides the fact that you are up-to-date on your celebrity gossip? Tweet about something interesting to you (that future employers will find interesting, too). Business major? ReTweet something from the Wall Street Journal. English enthusiast? Tweet about the great book you just read.

3. LinkedIn – You have tons of connections at your fingertips, and I bet you didn’t even know it. Have you had an internship? There’s a good chance your employers are on this networking site. I’ve even found a couple of teachers on LinkedIn. But make sure you actually know someone before you start going connection crazy. No one likes random friend requests on Facebook, and professionals definitely don’t like them on LinkedIn.

4. Blogs – This is your chance to show off your own personal style, so have some fun with this! Keep it professional, of course, but make sure you show off your creative side.

5. Stay classy – If you’re going to use pictures on any of these sites (and you should), make sure they represent you, and how classy you are. No red cups, please.

6. Start Early – I had a quarter-life crisis this summer. I turned 20 and could no longer use “but I’m a teenager!” as an excuse. Now, I’m a junior and I’m already freaking out about finding a job in this economy. Don’t wait until the last minute to get caught up on social media – you will only put more pressure on yourself!

7. Branding – Create a brand for yourself. For non-PR majors, a brand is something you use to market yourself to employers. Pick a few adjectives that describe you and then incorporate them into all of your social media outlets. Make sure you use a consistent name. Employers don’t have time to go searching around for you. If you need help with branding, UCS is having a Personal Branding seminar Sept. 29.

-Amy Dobrzynski