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Don’t be an April Fool - you’re a brand, act like one!

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  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

    Jan 2006
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    April Fool’s Day is fast approaching, so we’re kicking off a week of articles with a look at the dangers of being a fool online – not just on 1st April, but for the other 364 days of the year as well! Read*this article*and discover how you can build your own brand and protect your online self.

    When you’re online it’s easy to forget that almost everything you say and do is open to public scrutiny, including by your boss. Drop a particularly rude swear word into Twitter and your followers will register it. If anyone re-tweets your message, even more people will see it, some of whom might be your employer’s customers or people you work with. Post a photo of yourself tied naked to a lamp post on your stag night and your manager might be less than pleased. Open your Facebook security settings wide enough and your posts can easily be shared with thousands of complete strangers.*

    Your online activity is permanent, too. Prospective employers will be able to find it years down the line. Many employers search for candidates on Google to check their online footprint before arranging interviews. Others check post-interview to make sure they’ve made the right decision. What seems funny today might not be so amusing when you miss exciting job opportunities because of it.

    Career disasters

    The risks are real, and sackings are becoming more and more common. Early this year eleven civil servants from Iain Duncan Smith’s Work and Pensions staff were sacked for their Twitter and Facebook activities, and another 105 suffered disciplinary action. An HR executive was forced out of his job because he put his CV on LinkedIn and made it clear he was looking for new job opportunities. And a father of three was sacked for misconduct by Argos after complaining about his job on Facebook.*

    Guidelines for online interaction and engagement

    Some people say that if you wouldn’t want your mum to see it, don’t post it, which is a good rule of thumb!* Others recommend you think first and post or share second. Or count to 100 before clicking ‘send’. If you’re not sure whether it’s a good idea to post that ‘funny’ comment, think of yourself as a brand. When you get the balance right, your online presence can promote your reputation instead of damaging it.

    Sensible doesn’t mean boring

    Being responsible doesn’t mean your online life has to be dull. But it does mean applying common sense. Take Facebook, for example. You can set Facebook’s privacy settings so that only your friends and family can see your stuff instead of leaving it open to the world at large. And you can set up groups on Facebook, choosing who sees what. You might keep your personal Facebook account private, for friends and family only, and set up a separate business page for your work persona.
    Keep online fun for out of work hours

    Many companies have social networking policies forbidding social networking at work. So step away from that gadget! If you’re at work it makes sense to respect your employer by keeping social networking, personal emails, messages and smartphone fun to your lunch hour.

    It’s easy for employers to check the times and dates of your Tweets, for instance. If you send personal emails or instant messages from work it won’t help your career prospects much. Nor does sour grapes: if your boss drives you nuts or your past employer was a nightmare, keep it to yourself. They won’t appreciate you damaging the business’s brand.

    Many companies also forbid staff from posting information about the company online or limit what people are allowed to say. But what about the law? According to Paula Whelan at Shakespeare’s law firm, if you write anything vaguely negative about your employer, however harmless it seems, your boss is well within their legal rights to sack you. And employers are allowed to turn you down for jobs based on your online life – it’s entirely up to them.*
    <a class="lexicon-term" href="/jargon-buster/online"dfn title="The term 'online' usually means being connected to the Internet. The connection can be through a phone line, using a dial-up or DSL modem, a cable line via a cable modem, or through a wireless connection. A computer can also be online via a connection to a computer network. "strong/dfn/a>Where online meets real life</strong>

    It’s always a good idea to remember that you’re not alone. Your friends’ posts appear in your Facebook account, and if your employers can access it, they might be less than impressed to see a video of your drunken buddies being sick in the rosebushes outside the world’s noisiest house party, which was reported to the police by sleep-deprived neighbours and covered in your local paper. Not good.*

    Steer clear of trolling and cyberbullying

    Trolling comes into it too, as does hacking. A Facebook hacker was jailed for eight months in 2012, which has probably had a serious effect on his career prospects. If you join in with any kind of cyberbullying or mischief-making it can ruin your career if a prospective customer, employer or any other influential person happens to see it. The internet doesn’t work in a vacuum. If you engage in online bullying and someone reports you or they decide they want to talk it over and get support from other people, it damages your reputation in real life as well as online.
    Think like a pro

    You’re in control of your own online profile, your ‘brand’. Don’t be an April fool. Make the most of it.

  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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