Maintaining parallel lives - Always Safe For Work | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 18, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 18, 2017


Maintaining parallel lives - Always Safe For Work

It has been reported by many research organisations that in 2017, already half the world's population uses the internet. That means it is quite literally possible for all users to stumble upon each other online. A simple name search can reveal the social media platforms you are active on, and viewers can get a glimpse of your life. And your most important anonymous viewer will be employers and you may not even be aware of it. 

Your reputation online is very crucial to how people see you, and now that personal and professional profiles are so intertwined, you have to maintain a balance across all your networking and communicating profiles. 

To manage your different profiles, you can decide what you want people to see and also filter out who can see what you post. Optimise your reputation by showcasing the finest version of yourself according to what is appropriate to each medium. Each person's online activities reflect a person's interests and even life goals. It helps a potential employer to seek the right person for the right job by aligning abilities to the job requirements. 

Currently there are three main types of online profiles that most people engage in. They are: personal, professional and dating profiles. Each has its own management requirements to make sure you get the best out of the online networking experience. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

For your personal profile, use a custom setting to filter your friends and colleagues into relevant groups. If you're a long time Facebook user, you may want to filter who gets to see your oldest memories, before you knew that employers spy on your profiles. Carefully filter who gets to see what content so you can be desirable by employers and still practice freedom of speech. Direct messaging remains a safe option to practice if you do not want to publicly share a post. 

Twitter is like the smart casual outfit of the social networking world, so follow organisations that interest you to let them know you're interested in contributing to their subscriptions. 

The mother of all professional profiles is LinkedIn and you want to refer your LinkedIn profile in your local job hunting websites too. Make sure you have a recent photograph of yourself, taken in the most professional manner. Always update your online CV. Taking part in groups that are relevant to you and contributing to conversations can aid spreading your CV in the online job market. If you are a freelancer, always update your services in your professional profiles. Almost 39 percent of LinkedIn users pay for premium accounts and you can opt to do so too if you want mass recognition. Take advantage of the site that boasts of more than 450 million user profiles today.

For dating profiles, if you don't want your Facebook or Instagram friends to know you're using mate matching apps and websites, do not sign up for Tinder with Facebook. However, recent pictures are important for dating websites too. 

We want our professional lives to be parallel to our personal and private lives. If you want to express your NSFW humour and want to stay professional, you have to use the advantage that social media gives to boost your professional profile and manage your friends accordingly. Intersect your professional accounts with Facebook in a way that can only result to a win-win situation. 

The golden rule of online communication is to 'think before you post'. Online communication is instant, wide-reaching and difficult to retract, so you need to be sure you want it out there before you put it out there.

A couple of seconds re-reading your post, thinking about the photo, or running the worst-case scenario through your head can save you a lot of real-life pain.

The only person you can trust to keep your private life private is you.

By Sanumkia Siddiqui

Photo: Collected

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