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Posts haunt personal brands forever 0

By Amy Chan

Make sure you don't regret what you post. (FOTOLIA)

Make sure you don't regret what you post. (FOTOLIA)

A common misconception about personal branding is only those who own a business should care about it. Unfortunately, this is just not the case.

 

What you post today may haunt you in the future.

Let’s begin by defining what personal branding is. In this age of the proliferation of social media, we now live in a culture where every meal, outfit and selfies of every different angle possible are shared. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the act of sharing is creating an image and brand of yourself. The catch is, while the phase of life you are in and subsequently the image you are putting out there may change, what you put on the Internet lasts – and can be quite permanent.

There are many social media sites where even if you delete the photo off of your album, the photo will be stored on its servers and Google can still show that image on the web. Also, if you get on the bad side of some Internet-savvy low-life, it takes a few mere clicks to screenshot your image and post it on a bashing site.

Think of everything you post as something you can’t take back. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Ask yourself, in five or 10 years from now, “Will I be OK with this picture being up?” Ask yourself if the CEO of your dream company looked at your social media presence, if what they saw would be seen as a positive or a cause for concern.

Your career ambitions today will likely change tomorrow

The greatest consumers of social media are in the younger age demographic – a generation of people who will likely experience multiple career changes. Stats show that the average number of career changes in someone’s lifetime is around seven to nine. So, while you may think that your job/business now does not require you to be mindful of what the public sees, the reality is you just don’t know what the future holds. It’s probably a safer strategy to restrain from posting photos that give the wrong impression. Sure, that beer-bonging pic is funny, that huge bottle of Moet you are gulping might look pimp, and that half nude selfie is hot — but do you really want that out there forever?

You will be googled. This is inevitable. Whether it be by a potential employer, a romantic interest or a prospective client – at some point in time your collection of imagery will contribute to one’s impression of you. Might as well take steps to make that impression professional and timeless.

The instant factor of social media is part of its allure. But it’s also what’s causing us to react quickly without thought and consideration. Every photo, tweet and status you post is slowly building your brand, shaping the way people see you, and contributing to social norms. Be aware that people are watching and that you are very much a part of influencing the world around you.

 

Poll

Have you ever regretted something you posted online?

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