Recently, while I was on Facebook I noticed I had a friend request. When I clicked through to see who it was I was a bit confused, it was someone I was already friends with. This person looked just like them but had a really ridiculous name, nothing like their real name. Let’s just say it was Lacee Frankenstein.
Curiosity go the best of me and I accepted Lacee’s friend request. I went to her profile and started scrolling through the information provided. I quickly realized that this was my real friends alter ego, she was using this page purely for her after 5p.m. on Friday and pre 9a.m. Monday morning life. The page was full of fun pictures taken of her drinking at bars and inside jokes a little on the inappropriate side posted on her wall.
It didn’t take me long to realize that she had created this and cleaned up her real Facebook page. This is a trend I’ve notice spread across Facebook in the past year. As students get closer to graduation they think “Hey I’ll make a different profile and all my party photos can go there.” or “I’ll just change my name on Facebook to a nickname no professional or possible employer will never find me.”
Not a good idea. I’ve heard it said time and again that employers get worried now if they can’t find an applicant on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. They wonder, what does this person have to hide? While having a dual personality on Facebook is the same thing. I know I sound a bit drastic but if you are doing this, you are essentially leading a double life. It means that you are doing things in life that you wouldn’t want your name attached to in “the real world.”
One thing you will learn quickly, and may already have if you’re from a small town or went to a smaller school, networking and being in the field means people know your name. You never know who else is going to be out for a drink the same night you’re out partying,
possibly a co-worker or someone working at your dream firm.
Eventually someone, a co-worker or boss, is going to notice that there is a person you’re “friends with” that looks a lot like you but has a drink in their hand and sunglasses on in a bar. Fishy. I’m not saying that you need to be Mother Theresa, all I’m saying is that if you
want a job and a life it’s a balance. Let people tag photos of you but make sure you’re on top of them. If there is a photo that you know is not something you want to be considered in your personal brand then take it down. Save it to your computer, put it in your scrap book, frame it just don’t leave it on Facebook.
As I’ve said before; Your personal brand is there, whether you like it or not. It’s up to you to start managing it and let it tell a story. This creation doesn’t start when you say go, it started the moment you started your blog or set up your Facebook and Twitter. It’s up to you to be active in managing it.