Social media can be a great way to connect with people and it has revolutionized interpersonal relations in all areas of our lives. Chances are the next time you meet someone, you will be just as likely to share your contact information so you can be friends on Facebook or follow each other on Twitter, as you will to give them your phone number. With that in mind, here are a few do’s and don’ts so you can have your profile in good shape should that person you are interested in pop by for a cyber visit.
• Do Have a Recent Photo on Your Profile Page: A rule of thumb is to update your profile photo any time you change your appearance by getting a new haircut or coloring your hair or if your weight changes due to loss or gain. A cautionary tale about using an old photo where you might look great, but which doesn’t represent who you are today: a friend of mine had her “thin” pic up on Facebook and was approached by an old schoolmate who just happened to be in town and wanted to meet with her right away. When they did meet, he expressed his disappointment that she did not look how she did in her picture. Now granted, this guy was a tool, but he really just said out loud what a lot of people might have thought and not said, and my friend could have avoided this awkward situation had she represented herself honestly in her profile picture. It might be tempting to post a photograph where you look stunning and red carpet ready, but if that’s not how you look in everyday life, don’t do it. This is also a good argument for making yourself presentable each and every time you leave your home, because you never know when someone with a smart phone will catch you and post your picture on Facebook.
• Don’t Discuss Politics and Religion: Remember that old saw never to bring up politics and religion at a dinner party if you want your fellow guests to feel comfortable talking to you? The same is true of social media. While a great number of people seem to feel the need to share their opinions on the latest news article about candidates and issues, its best to be very careful what you share in this regard. Unless you are sure all of your friends will understand and accept your point of view, it’s a safe way to avoid offending anyone by keeping your political ideas and religious beliefs to yourself. If you feel the need to express this side of yourself, why not go to a site that is devoted to that particular interest and share? Politics quickly becomes tedious in any social setting whether your audience agrees with you or not. If you must share, keep it brief and infrequent or you may find yourself unfriended or largely ignored by your friend list.