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Diary of a Content and Social Intern: A Lesson in Social Media Privacy

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This summer I am interning at Marketo. As a 16 year old who is currently in high school, interning at a tech company is definitely quite a change of pace. So what have I been spending my time doing? LOTS of research on LinkedIn and other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which is not something I expected to be doing. I have also spent time uploading infographics to various websites and updating user groups on LinkedIn. When I found out that I’d be working at Marketo, I anticipated I would be doing more of filing and organizing, so working with social media has been a pleasant surprise.

As someone who spends a good deal of time on social sites in my personal life, I was excited to learn more about the business side of social media. As I dug deep into my work on each social site, I became more and more interested in the differences between using social media for work vs. using social media in my personal life. Although I have never really thought about it before now, how you use social media in your personal life can affect your professional life.

A Day in the Life of Social Media Minded High Schooler

In my personal life I mainly use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to my friends and family, but Instagram is probably the one I use the most out of all three. I go on Instagram to look at what my friends posting, or to post my own photos. When I’m on Facebook I’m usually chatting over IM, and I mainly go on Twitter to see what my friends are up to when I am not there. Basically, social media helps me stay connected with friends through status updates and photos (like the ones of me and my friends below!)

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A Day in the Life of a Marketo Social and Content Intern

So, obviously how I use social media in my daily life is very different from how I have been using social media at work. When I am working, I am using social media mainly to research. I use LinkedIn frequently to research influencers in our space and come up with information like title and Twitter handle. I have also used Twitter and Facebook to research companies and influencers. At Marketo I have learned to see social media in an entirely different way. Which has been pretty cool.

The Golden Rule for Transitioning from High School to Business Social Media

Needless to say, I have learned from working here that whatever you put online or on social media sites in your personal life can affect your business life–even if you just thought your friends would see it. While doing research here I have seen a lot of Twitter and Facebook profiles. Most have been perfectly fine and safe for the business world, but I have also seen some that have names or bios that could potentially affect that person’s professional life.

Some Cautionary Tales

So what do I mean by that? There are many stories of social media posts gone wrong. I recently found an article about social media blunders at work and a couple of the stories stood out to me. One story in the article was about a teacher who was asked to leave her job because of a picture she posted on Facebook of her holding some beer. She thought her account was private but the principle of the school happened to find out anyway.

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As I have been posting on social sites in my personal life, I have never considered who might see my photo or status update. This article clearly shows that posting inappropriate pictures just isn’t a good idea. Another story in the same article mentioned a girl who decided to post on Twitter about the new job she was offered. She mentioned she would be “getting a fatty check”, but hated the job. Someone who worked at the company saw that tweet and she was fired.

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Pretty scary stuff! Definitely a good lesson in thinking twice before you post something that could potentially hurt your future job.

Social Media Privacy Settings

One thing that could be done to avoid a potentially sticky situation is to make sure that your privacy settings have been set. If you have an embarrassing profile picture or a potentially inappropriate photo, Facebook albums privacy settings can help hide that from people you don’t want seeing it. With privacy settings it is less likely that someone researching you or looking to hire you will see anything bad on your social media sites. Clearly privacy is an issue, so how do you set it up to make sure you are controlling who sees what and when?

General Facebook Privacy

  • Go to Privacy settings on the top right corner.
  • Under “Who can see my stuff” you can choose who can see your past and future posts.
  • Under “who can look me up” you can pick if you want other search engines to link to your timeline on Facebook.

Photo Privacy

  • Go to your photo click “edit”.
  • Under edit you can choose who you want to be able to see the picture.
  • If someone else tagged you in a picture you can remove the tag.

How to set up Twitter Privacy

  • Go to settings on the top right side.
  • Go to Tweet privacy.
  • Choose “protect my tweets” so you can pick who can follow you or not.

Social media is often used in both personal life and in work life. The key to remember is everything you put out there on social media can affect you in the future. Being a teenager, I never really thought about how the updates and photos I post could have an effect on me in the future. Things you post for fun or laughs could bite you in the butt if you’re not careful. I now realize that privacy settings are important to have if you don’t want social media hurting you in the future.

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