Whether you work in health or social care or not, your personal online profile cam have a significant effect on how others perceive you regardless of how well up to speed you are with your settings.
There are some simple rules you can follow though to help maintain a healthy online profile
1) Treat people with respect
On the Internet, people hide behind a veil of anonymity to attack, slander and discredit people they don’t like. With social media networks and blogs, it’s easy to find a stranger to pick on. The number one rule therefore is to treat people with respect. There is a great online video called Digital Dirt Sticks in which a job applicant is humiliated by a potential employer after they rooted out comments the girl had made on Facebook about another girl. Not surprisingly she doesn’t get the job!
2) Don’t spread gossip.
Thanks to websites like Twitter, breaking news can reach millions of people within seconds. In some cases, this is a good thing. Social media users are among the first to learn about important events and news. When the news is false, however, the speed of social media can get people into all sorts of bother.
A good rule is to be skeptical of what you read online. Check your facts before you share information. If the information is found to be libellous it will not be a defence to claim you did not understand what you are doing. Ask yourself this – would my employer be happy if I shared this information?
3) Keep private information private.
Some companies focus their entire business model on scraping social networking websites for personal information and then compiling it to sell to marketers or identity thieves. That’s why private information online should stay private. Another good tip is to avoid the photos on Facebook that encourage large numbers of people to share – these are often scams with the intention of selling the information on. Most importantly, never share any health data or information from within your organisation – confidential information should remain just that.
4) Google Yourself
Employers will often do it so why don’t you? Having a look at your online profile will help you understand what you look like to others.
5) Think about the future.
The things you share online are like digital tattoos; they’re there forever. Look at yourself from the outside and remove anything you think might paint you in an awkward light in the future. Imagine the embarrassment of a smoking cessation health worker having photos on their Facebook pages of them smoking – no matter how old. There may be perfectly rational explanations but unfortunately in the online world it if often seen as black or white.