On one dull Sunday afternoon, I logged onto Facebook and visited the timelines of some of my Facebook friends.
I found all kinds of posts. One posted a series of a selfies of herself in a bikini lying on sand. Another had posted pictures of her engaging in PDA (Public Displays of Affection) with her boyfriend and captioned it “I love this man to death.”
And, I just went, “oh really, does she?” I recalled a time this same girl had previously posted something about the man not treating her right She had branded him a serial cheat. The guy called her lazy, immature and irresponsible.
Suddenly, she was posting lovey dovey pictures of them holding hands, hugging and locking lips. As I was going through the comments, I stumbled upon one that read “Have you two stopped fighting and are now back on?”
The whole thing left me speechless. I wondered, “What happened to keeping some things about our lives away from social media?”
I was perturbed by yet another post on another friend’s page.
The man posted a complaint about his boss. He described him as exploitative, manipulative and discriminative.
Someone begged him to delete the post out of fear that his boss might come across it and take action. The man became indifferent and went on ranting.
The last time I saw the post, it had over 100 comments. One of them was him saying he had resigned from the job as he could no longer entertain his boss’ behaviour.
“If you post something that also makes you uncomfortable or think twice, it has the potential of tarnishing your personal brand,” says Michael Niyitegeka, an Information and Communications Technology consultant.
Niyitegeka adds that in case your social media profile is public, be extra careful with the kind of information you decide to share.
“This is because whatever you post can be accessed by members of the public and anything you think the public will not relate not be posted,” he explains.
It has been discovered recently that some employers take time to investigate the social media accounts of potential employees.
If they came across any posts or pictures they believe will damage the reputation of their company, they do not risk hiring you.
Janat Zawedde is one such person whose social media posts made her lose a job opportunity at one of the corporate firms in town. The 28-year-old is accustomed to posting pictures of herself in nightclubs having fun with friends either dancing or drinking.
“I found three female panellists on the day of the oral interview. One pulled out her phone and showed me a picture I once posted on my Facebook page lighting a cigarette and asked if I was the one,” Zawedde says, adding, “I timidly answered yes and she placed the phone back in the bag.”
The mother of one says the incident was very embarrassing as she wanted the world to swallow her after seeing the picture. Two weeks later, she learnt that someone else had been hired for the position.
Moses Ssesanga, the human resource manager at Monitor Publications, says social media defines who the person is and how they want to be perceived. What someone posts is a reflection of who they are.
“You will not join a company with that baggage that you have been posting either with irresponsible or irrational comments. Surely, a responsible company will not take you on,” Ssesanga states. He advises that if one wants their brand to be good, then they should protect it by making responsible posts.
Patricia Kahill, a freelance social media consultant, content creator and marketer at Kahill Insights, explains that someone can brand themselves on social media depending on the reason they are on the platform in the first place.
“Some people are online because they want to create some fun while others are there to work. The way someone chooses to portray themselves online becomes their brand,” she says, adding: “Social media is a wide platform that one can use for marketing themselves or businesses in all sorts of ways.”
Decide how you intend to use social media and to whom you will allow access, especially on Facebook. You don’t necessarily need to completely sanitise all your social media profiles — because companies want to hire real people, and some companies specifically look for creativity and personality.
However, if you want to ensure a potential employer does not reject you on those grounds, make sure your online social profile depicts the type of employee a company would want to hire.