Recently one of my favorite colleagues from India sent me a few links with a note about “Social Media Hygiene” - a topic of discussion around social media that is being discussed extensively in India. He stressed that it is a concept especially targeted at young people in the workplace. I was intrigued. I’d never heard this term before. And I thought: as a Mom, I’m always bugging my daughter to wash her hands, so maybe this hygiene topic is right up my alley.
I did a few searches and checked out the articles my friend sent. One article “Watch what you post on Facebook. Hirers are all eyes” by India Times reporter Mini Joseph Tejaswi says, “A single unsavoury picture, post or comment on social media can rob you of your dream job. These are increasingly used as a talent sourcing and reference check-point. Irresponsible Facebooking, tweeting or any compromise of social media hygiene could lead to summary rejection.”
Now I see what all of the buzz is about. Social Media Hygiene is a clever term for the need to manage your reputation and personal brand (and even your company’s brand) on social media. I think it extends beyond the hiring phase to your professional life in general.
In a recent ITSM podcast interview, Intel CIO Kim Stevenson (@kimsstevenson) talked about social media and how the marketability of IT employees is reflected by their online presence (around 17:50 min. into the podcast). Kim also provides some practical tips on how to use social media. She also talks about sharing information and how older and younger professionals view permanence of information differently (around 25:40 into the podcast).
A proper understanding and awareness of social media etiquette (or social media hygiene, if that term rings true to you) is needed to manage your digital brand. Intel provides social media training and guidelines to all employees who want to engage in social media. Here is a link to the guidelines we use at Intel.
So, remember: when you are using social media keep it clean, and don’t forget to wash your hands often either!