Social media seems to be a millennial enterprise. However, it can be utilized in different ways for different populations. As teenagers age, and begin to enter their adult lives, social media will still be a central part of their lives- but perhaps can be used more productively and responsibly. And with numerous articles about how colleges are looking at your social media profiles, we've compiled a few ideas to consider when making your first moves as an adult in the world of social media:
As a working adult, social media is largely used as a forum to connect with people who are potentially relevant to your career. While LinkedIn is the most widely used professional forum to literally network, things like Facebook, Instagram, etc. can also be platforms through which you can connect with people, who you want to maintain a professional relationship with.
As millennials enter the workforce this trend may change, but for now the way that older generations use things like Facebook, and connect with their friends is very different from the way younger generations connect with each other. For the working world, adding friends on Facebook is an important and personal decision, rather than something you do when you briefly meet someone once at a random event. Recognizing the boundaries of when to add someone on a more personal form of social media (such as Facebook) rather than connecting on more professional networks (Such as Linkedin) is an important issue to consider as an adult on social media.
Posting Status Updates
As you do begin to add people who you encounter in your professional career on social media like Facebook, knowing when and when not to post as well as how often to post is an important consideration. The daily activities that you may or may not have been posting status updates about are no longer for public consumption; your professional friends don’t care what you cooked for dinner last night! Big life events and important milestones, trips, activities, etc. that you have historically posted about are still fair game so long as you present them in a mature way. The same applies for any pictures you have been posting historically; no alcohol, drugs, parties, clubs, etc., but all else is probably fine so long as you look put together. All in all, if you do not want your boss to see it, then do not let any of your other colleagues see it either.
While you should put a lot more consideration into your social media use now that you’re an adult, there’s no reason social media should stop serving as a platform for you to enjoy yourself. You might have goofy pictures with your friends, and you might like tagging your siblings in funny posts sometimes- and you shouldn’t stop doing that out of fear that you’re being judged. The most important part of networking and presenting yourself to others is being honest with yourself– you want to find people who are like you, and with whom you will fit in with, so you won’t be unhappy where you end up. Knowing your boundaries is important, and social media activity unrelated to business is fine, so long as it is in moderation. Keep your social media vibrant and interesting to make the most out of it!