Your Career and You: “How ‘Social’ Are You?”

Publication1This has been an interesting semester thus far at Curry College, where I teach most of the public relations courses in our undergraduate Communication Department.

Good students for the most part. A little rocky getting started, but the bumps are getting smoothed out and we’re starting to chug along nicely.

One of the courses I’m teaching is “Social Media Communication,” designed to provide an overview of how social media is being and can be used in the communication area, especially in public relations.

But I also throw in some “it’s your future” stuff.

You’d think this would be a no-brainer for these folks…after all, they entered the world with a Facebook account and were tweeting before their first tooth appeared. It’s not, though.

While most (not “all”) are on Facebook, and some are using Twitter, many don’t see the value that an active…professional…presence on these and other platforms can bring.

For those of you who, in an unprecedented fit of insanity, chose to either “connect with,” “friend” or “follow” me, you know that I’m all over the place when it comes to posts and tweets. If I’m not ranting about the inferior service of our public transit system here in Boston or making snarky comments about Penny’s new hairdo on “Big Bang Theory,” I’m sharing or commenting on articles on public relations and/or social media.

In other words, I’m balancing the “kid” in me with the “professional” side. I’m not a “bot.”

And that’s the lesson that I’m trying to pass on to my troops in the classroom. Social media is so much more than photos posted on Facebook of your latest vaguely-remembered, unauthorized party in your room at college or profanity-laden tweets during a football or baseball game.

Today, social media platforms are your first introduction in the eyes of a potential internship supervisor or hiring manager for that way cool position you’ve been lusting after.

As I tell those who ask and are willing to listen, “I’m going to check you out before I add your name to my list of possible interviews. What am I going to find online?”

Public relations as a profession is just that… “public”…and my image as an organization will benefit from or be smudged by your public image.

Yes, I know that there is a growing unhappiness with the mandates of Facebook and other currently popular social media platforms to reveal your “real” self. And I’ve been reading a lot recently about “Ello,” an anti-Facebook platform that allows you to register as “Snickerty-Doodle” if you so wish.

My point here is that, yes, you should have fun, and yes, you should have the right to say and do stupid things. But say and do those things in the company of other human beings. Don’t do them in your closet and then post them online for the virtual…rapidly becoming very real…world to see.

It’s good to be “out there” with your thoughts and opinions. Just remember to be “social” when you do.


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in Communication, Curry College, internships, job hunting, job search, public relations, social media, Undergraduate Communication and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your Career and You: “How ‘Social’ Are You?”

  1. Social media can be a great tool to build your professional brand, and unfortunately the younger generation struggles to see this because they have only ever used it for fun.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s