How My Grandmother Saves My Social Media Presence

The other day, my mother brought to my attention a position at a local museum. Part of the application process really piqued my interest. The ad required that all applicants must be a part of the Young Canada Works database. To me, this program comes off as the FSWEP of museums and cultural organizations. While filling out the online profile I was prompted to include a personal website—something that I don’t currently have but that a number of my older peers do.

Such personal websites are essentially beefed-up resumés including links to online published works, Twitter accounts, and so on—anything that might show off your skills, good qualities and winning personality. They make your online presence very quickly available to any potential employers, so you’d better have been nice and not naughty (employers are like Santa when it comes to social media).

While I don’t see as many online faux pas as I used to (mainly because I unfollow any faux pas makers due to fear of future association), there are still a number of people out there who just can’t seem to handle the idea that social media are a public space, no matter how high you set your privacy settings.

To drive the point home, I recently discovered a new show on MTV Canada called “Creeps.” Hopeful contestants add a panel of MTV “creepers” as friends on Facebook and then have their profile creeped. If your online shenanigans are outrageous enough, you are then invited to be grilled by the panel, who will decide whether or not you get to move on to the next round. The prize? A reality TV show, of course.

While everyone wants an MTV show, I don’t think it’s really worth airing your digital laundry (it stinks the most), so here are a few tips on social media that will keep you off “Creeps” and potentially land you some new followers on whatever platforms you bounce off of.

  1. Avoid Conflict: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube: they all allow us to express our opinions pretty much unfiltered, so there will always be friction and squabbles. While it might seem ridiculous and inconsequential to fight on social media (“because it’s all just fun and games”), public conflicts make everyone around you uncomfortable and usually embarrassed for you. If you find that a follower is “defending your honor,” it might be a good idea to get them to stop.
  2. Post Pictures of Food: If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I will occasionally talk about what I am eating. A lot of people’s doubts about Twitter comes from the fact that they “don’t want to hear what [I] had from breakfast,” and there is some truth in that. Because it is a social platform, it’s always a good idea to make your tweets social. Ask questions like “Can grilled cheese be made with frozen bread?” or include a TwitPic when said grilled cheese fails miserably. Note that this rule can generally apply to everything you tweet about.
  3. A Little Humour Goes A Long Way: Literally. See rule #2, add a dash of funny and you might find people retweeting you around the world.
  4. The Golden Rule of Social Media: Add your grandmother, your aunts, your uncles, etc. on Facebook. Let them know about your Twitter (they probably won’t care, but whatever). Or at least, pretend as if you have… Create a social media panopticon for yourself. You shouldn’t have to censor what you put online, but if you think your poor grandmother might pass out from some of your posts, then you might then think twice about posting them. Which is a good thing.

I’m sure a lot of this is quite apparent to all of you who read these blogs, but maybe I just helped you avoid signing up for “Creeps.” That, or you’re on your way to your own MTV reality show! Congratulations either way.

My tweets won’t even get me a reality show on my own YouTube channel, but if you want you can follow me here!

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