Monday, February 27, 2012

Your Online Image

A few weeks ago I wrote about how a child care provider can be professional.  What I didn't cover was your online image and keeping that professional as well.

I like this abbreviated post on

1.  The Internet is forever.

2.  Privacy controls don't really mean anything.

3.  Would Grandma approve of that?

4.  Do Not badmouth anyone online.

These are the guidelines I use when I post to my social networks or blogs.  Everything you post, email, or share is archived somewhere forever.

It's pretty easy to assume only your Facebook "friends" will read your post or view your photos, but that is not actually true.  Your Facebook friends control their settings over items they comment on or "Like" and that most likely includes sharing their comment and your post with their friends.  This goes for other social networks like Twitter and G+.  Also, anyone can search for your name and find photos and posts.

Before you post any photo or comment, you should run it through the "Grandma Test" first.  Would she approve? If not, it's probably best not to post.  Not only should Grandma approve, your spouse, kids, parents, clients, boss, and everyone should be able to read it.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."  This quote from Bambi goes for all areas of our lives; no speaking bad things or posting bad things at any time (other than constructive criticism at an appropriate time).  When you badmouth someone it isolates you.  Yes, you may have strong feelings or have been wronged, but the internet is not the place to voice those opinions.  Find other outlets for your feelings such as writing a letter or journaling.

Why is it so important to keep your internet postings so clean?  Everyone and anyone will look you up online. They can find photos and postings you wrote, even years ago, when you were in college, while you were not working, etc.  Think about "everyone":  friends, family, colleagues, clients, employers, potential clients or employers, etc.  It doesn't matter that you posted a photo of you drinking shots long before you put in an application for a job; all the potential employer will see is you drinking a shot and they may pass over you.

All this applies to the child care provider.  If you are badmouthing another client on your Facebook posts, even if you leave out names, potential or current clients my read your posts and wonder if that is about them or will you do it to them, too?  This can happen even if you set all your posts to "private."  If you post a photo or comment about enjoying an adult beverage after hours, clients may wonder if those types of beverages are consumed during child care hours, too.

First impressions are important and often times your social media profiles are many people's first impressions.  In these times where it can be hard to get a child care client, being mindful of your postings or photos could make a difference.  Most likely parents will look up your name and find your social networks to check on your character.

I like how the author of the original article puts it:
Watching what you say online is a major element to managing your professional reputation.  When your professional reputation is tarnished, your business will suffer.

Keep your business strong by being mindful of what you post online.  Your friends and family will benefit from your positive postings, too, and you can feel good about your postings as well.



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