Social media resolutions

In general, I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions. Often, they are too general and ineffective. But when it comes to our social media habits, I believe we could all make an exception. That’s because bad social media habits can hurt your online reputation, which can have a detrimental effect on your career. And unlike other habits, making changes on social media is relatively easy and doesn’t take much effort.

Social media can help you find your next job in 2015, but for that to happen, you need to be smart in the way you use social networking sites. If you’re serious about elevating your career in the new year, here are four social media resolutions you should consider taking on:

  1. Read everything you post.

More and more social media tools help us find and easily share curated content today. From Klout to Buffer to, many social media management tools offer a stream of recommended articles. But while these tools can make you a more efficient social media user, they also make it tempting to click “share” before reading the entire article.

Stop sharing articles you haven’t read. It’s simply bad practice. Skim the post, at least, and look for the high-level points. Posting a piece of content on social is the equivalent of endorsing it, so make sure you agree with what you share.

  1. Avoid getting jealous of people you don’t know.

Thanks to social media, #FOMO is more prominent than ever. But what we need to realize as social media users is that what we see on social is often a lopsided view of a person’s life.

People build up an image on social media that’s better than the reality. Celebrities do it. I do it too, and I’m sure you have as well. When you see people who always seem to score invites to the hottest parties or who seem to go in shopping sprees all the time, realize that those moments are only a sliver of their daily lives. If you keep that in mind, you’re less likely to feel envious and you will enjoy social media better.

And if you find yourself feeling FOMO often, it might be time to unfollow people who make you feel that way. Yes, heavy social media usage can make you feel depressed, but you have some control of your newsfeeds. Exercise the power of “unlike” or “unfollow” once in a while.

  1. Stop ranting.

You might find ranting on Facebook or Twitter therapeutic, but spilling your guts out on these platforms can backfire. Regardless of how much you lock up your social media profiles, everything you post on social is pretty much permanent, thanks to the almighty screenshot. With sites like Twitter, there’s also the risk of being misunderstood and having your comments taken out of context. Some research also suggests that most people don’t like negativity on social, so you might be turning off people as well when you rant.

If you need to blow off some steam, I suggest writing a quick blog post. But wait a few hours before clicking “publish.” A blog post works better than a tweet or a Facebook update because it lets you express yourself more fully. On a blog platform, you can always update your message with more info or revise the content at a later time.

Of course, there’s a better approach: talk to a friend—offline—about your problems. Things like issues with your boss or spats with another friend simply aren’t meant for online discussions. Phones still exist for a reason. Ranting is best done face to face.

  1. Clean up your profiles.

If you plan on making a career move this new year, it’s time to scrub up your social media profiles. Recruiters will google you, and everything you post online that’s marked public will show up. And before posting a scandalous pic from your university days for #TBT, it’s worth asking yourself whether that “fun” image represents you in the best way possible.

Take an hour or two to go through your Facebook albums and pictures. You might even want to remove your Facebook profile off Google. This exercise takes only a few hours of your time but could help you avoid missing out on great career opportunities.

What social media resolutions are you making in 2015?