I’m currently on the job hunt. I’m scouring the internet to find opportunities to put my marketing skills to use in the Big Apple. I had been thinking about making a post about my personal minimal social media presence but I am coming across a trend that made me change the idea of this blog post slightly. Almost all of the jobs I have applied for are asking for a link to at least one of my social media accounts in addition to their standard job applications asking for my resume and LinkedIn accounts. I’ve been able to sidestep this question by either posting a link to this website (thanks for stopping by!) or by just sharing my LinkedIn account. I’m assuming that I’m being asked this question because of the nature of my career and the jobs I’m applying to. How can someone really call themselves a digital expert without an online presence? Well, I think you can claim to be one and be one without thousands of followers on your accounts and here’s why.
I’m intentionally not very active on social media
I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn accounts. I am on each of them almost daily, I know how they all work, I follow trends closely and I know how to make these platforms work to promote your business or product. However, I rarely post anything and if I do it’s to a limited audience that I have carefully selected with a private account. I have nothing to hide, that’s not the issue at all. Even though it might give away my age, I can confess I am beyond grateful that Youtube and live feeds weren’t a thing during my wildest college years. I assure you, my weekends look quite different now.
I like my privacy
Many of my close friends will tell you that I’m a relatively private person. Again, it’s not that I’m trying to hide anything, it’s that I don’t think it’s important to let 1,000 of your acquaintances know where you went to dinner on a Friday night. I’ve always been this way but a recent stalker situation with an ex reinforced my personal motto which is: if I talk to you often enough and we’re close enough, then I feel you need to know the details about my life and I will tell you. If we don’t, then I promise to like your baby and your wedding pictures when you post them and that is the extent of our online relationship.
It’s a lot of work
During the past 6 years, I’ve been paid to run someone’s social media account as my day job. I am thoughtful about what I post, I create high quality content and I make sure that the post schedule and social media strategy is contributing the over arching marketing goals of the company. After doing that 40+ hours a week, why would I want to continue to do that work to give myself a trendy online presence? I’m a huge FRIENDS fan and it reminds me of the episode when Rachel wants to date an OBGYN and well, it’s kind of like that. I can’t do the episode justice, check out the clip.
I break my own social media rule
I’ve worked in several different positions where I’ve been asked to audit and make marketing suggestions and one of the things I always suggest is to remove any “ghost town” accounts. If you opened the account 2 years ago when you had interns on staff and haven’t done anything on it since, it’s better to remove the account than for people to see that you have neglected your social media accounts. Well, if you’ve come to my website and you’ve read this post, it won’t be too hard for you to track down my accounts and on the few that are public, you will see: they’re pretty ghost town-ish and you won’t find much. I have various accounts so I can log in and see what’s going on and understand how to make these platforms work for organizations that I’m helping to promote. But, I don’t want to point out in the application process of a new job that I break my own rule. So, instead I’m posting it on my new website? Hmmm, not quite sure about my own logic, I’ll sleep on it.
If a prospective employer wants to see how I do social media professionally then I’m more than happy to point them in the direction of business accounts that I’ve managed. Why do you want to see my personal accounts? Are you seeing if you can get a feeling for my character based off of my Facebook posts? Doesn’t it make more sense to figure that out after meeting me? Do you really care what I do in my personal time if I come in and get the job done? Some people might argue that, yes, employers do care because you are an ambassador for their brand. I can understand that but if you hire someone who has less than ideal character, I promise you’ll find out in ways other than their status updates. Or, are you trying to see what judgements you can make of me before I’ve even had the chance to personally introduce myself? I’d like to think it’s not the latter because that’s opening a whole other discrimination can of worms. Besides, why do you even have to ask? All you really need is a person’s name and city and you can easily find many links with a quick Google search. Trust me, it’s easy and the only way I’ve managed to navigate the dating scene in New York City.
So the bottom line is, no, I will never provide a prospective employer a link to my personal social media accounts. If that costs me an interview than it costs me an interview. I would consider it their loss because I am awesome. But, also because I believe that makes me a rare breed in our over sharing society: someone who values privacy and takes reasonable steps to maintain it.