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Social networks: the impact on the professional image

By Amelia Reyes Mora, President de AF Comunicación Estratégica

The multiple advantages of using social networks are indisputable. Daily they continue to increase the followers and interactions in the networks, so much so that to connect with some audiences, it is essential to reach them through them. For certain segments of the population, if you are not in the networks, you do not exist. Generally, when a person wishes to obtain information about someone, the first thing they do is search the internet.

It draws my attention powerfully that the pseudo-security of social networks seems to invite many people to share their most secret and “rugged” intimacies with openness and carefreeness that scares. Not that it scares me personally, despite leading a conservative lifestyle, I’m not old enough to just not have read or lived multiple experiences that would make the scare unforgivable. I refer to the impact that these opinions, comments or any form of human and everyday expression, left in writing and, worse, with photographs as eternal witnesses of any particular slip, would have in the future of a young or mature professional.

Despite the privacy filters, once the information is on the network, it is possible that sooner or later, one way or another, it will be public knowledge and, unfortunately, it is not possible to delete it.

The human being must be seen in an integral way. Although freedom of choice and opinion is respected, companies seek to integrate their team, talents with a certain profile, people who reflect the values ​​of the institution. It could happen that the behavior that is manifested in these social networks, squabbles with the image that the “headhunters” or the Human Resources departments are looking for.

Consistency is an essential quality of good communication, both personally and corporately. As a communication consultant, I see with great concern, as lately, the lack of coherence between the role played by a professional and the image projected through social networks has become more evident.

We must be cautious with the “likes” we receive. We can add numerous “likes” for reasons that have little to do with the sincere approval of a comment or photograph.

Something funny or expressing what we would like to say, but out of respect or fear some people do not dare to comment, deep down, even if they press the “I like” key, it does not necessarily mean they approve. It’s like the girl or the boy with whom you have a good time, but you wouldn’t get married. Taking it to the corporate level, it is the professional in whom you would not trust your brand or company.

Frequently, users get away from the excitement and forget that “tweets,” “posts,” and personal information that is placed on the Web, are shaping their profile. It is possible that this information is someone’s first impression, and there is never a second chance for a first impression.

In our country, according to information obtained through recruitment firms of great prestige, painful cases have occurred, candidates with an excellent professional profile, have not been hired for their comments and photographs considered as “inappropriate” that were found in the networks. A simple comment or an innocent photo on the beach or at a party can cause tremendous damage to an individual’s reputation.

A senior executive told me that a sports talent recruiter urged the 14-year-old son of this executive, to be careful with his interactions on social networks. Promising players have seen their aspirations to be “signed” truncated due to information judged as “inadequate” found in the networks.

As for the company, we must be very attentive and sensitized about the fact that the behavior of an employee impacts the image that customers form of the organization. As participation in networks becomes increasingly widespread, this issue will have to be managed in greater depth.

Although it is not within the scope of the company to put limitations on the actions of an employee in their personal networks during their free time, definitely, every company must have a policy of using social networks. In this way, you can prevent situations that could cause conflicts or dislikes, creating crises within the organization.

It is not my purpose to make a call to good customs, nor to morality about behavior in social networks, since the evaluation is very subjective and multifactorial, it is a warning or attention signal that it is necessary to keep in mind that there is nothing more public than the privacy of social networks.

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