My journey on social media has been an interesting one. I have told my story before. In a nutshell I got into it to promote writing and speaking I wanted to do. As a mental health provider on social media I have learned a lot about online reputation. That how you conduct yourself leaves a trail. Whether you contribute to it or not, you leave a digital footprint. One can gain control of this with their social media presence.
If you are a professional and people are searching your name, this is the benefit of creating your own positive online presence. My mission was to make it as positive as possible and share the things that matter to me.
I don’t aspire to be Director of The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. However, Representative Mike Pompeo does and this week he faced his Senate confirmation hearing. I have watched several of these now; your words and actions are put under intense scrutiny.
One of the things that Representative Pompeo had to answer to was the following Tweet…
In an exchange with Senator Angus King, Mr. Pompeo was asked if he felt that Wikileaks was indeed “proof” or a legitimate source of information…
“The fact that you used the word ‘proof,’ ‘need proof,’ that would indicate that you did think it was a credible source of information,” King said.
Pompeo again denied thinking WikiLeaks is credible.
“I have never believed that WikiLeaks was a credible source of information.”
King then asked, “Well how do you explain your Twitter?”
“I’d have to go back and take a look at that, senator,” Pompeo responded. “But I can assure you, I have some deep understanding of WikiLeaks, and I’ve never viewed it as a credible source of information, for the United States or anyone else.”
Now, I am last person to want to instill fear about social media use. However one has to be purposeful in how we use it. One has to consider your audience but what it means for your profession. Despite my disappointment in the election, measuring my responses on social media has been tricky. In sticking with the social work profession, I try not only to think about criticisms but also solutions.
I started to think if I would be brought up for Senate confirmation, what tweet of mine would be pulled up? So I searched twitter for the times that I asserted “proof”, I found a couple but here is a political one…
My hope is that if I was in a senate confirmation hearing, probably Health and Human Services ;), the defense of this might not be too difficult. Although snarky, it was attempting to perhaps prove a point. That something as silly as a social media trend (#deeznuts) can be a significant part of the political conversation.
Also you have to think about how a professional account may be viewed by a prospective employer. My hope is that they would “get it” and it is not viewed as damning. This one is pretty close and perhaps a lesson of my own.
Going back to Representative Pompeo’s tweet, perhaps saying “left without comment” might have been a better option? or “More information that is potentially problematic …”
Please don’t mistake this as fear about social media use. Representative Pompeo’s dilemma gave me pause. Prior to writing one needs to be open ended, positive, and as solutions driven as possible. Your digital footprint and reputation matters. What tips do you have for online reputation management? How do ensure you think prior to posting?
This post was originally published on my @Medium account.