Social Networks - can they impact your Personal Brand?

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This question has been very current for me with the recent work that I have doing with organisations for their Graduate Programmes. Within the last month I have had several requests asking me to present on graduate induction programmes (good news on the subject of recruitment) in the areas of ‘personal branding’ and what is ‘appropriate’ business behaviour in the respective cultures of those organisations.

As part of the discussions on the programmes, whilst attendees totally understand the importance of their personal brand and how that links to the brand of the organisation, when we talk about social media sites it is easy to forget how a personal brand may be contaminated with, for example, a picture taken at ‘that great party’. It has been known that some organisations, when recruiting, do check out social networking websites and there have been cases of job offers being withdrawn because of what has been seen.

This was further illustrated when reading a Channel 4 news item of the Google CEO’s warning on the subject of online privacy with many social media websites, highlighting the perks and pitfalls of sharing information online, which is then in the public domain and presented to a global audience.

We understand that to the Generation Y-ers, those born between 1980 and 2000, immediate technology is an integral part of their daily routine and relationships. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognise that this also needs to be representative of an individual’s brand and how that fits with the organisation with whom they may be seeking a career or indeed are already employed.

Where would we be without technology - it offers so many opportunities and allows access to immediate information; however, be aware that once you publish that ‘photo’ or send a message by text, not only is your ownership lost, but how congruent is the message with your Personal Brand, especially if you are embarking on a new job search or promotion?