Lets’s just be honest, social media has taken over our lives whether it be personal or professional. Either you are tweeting about what Kim Kardashian is wearing at the MTV Music Awards or you are posting new volunteer opportunities on your organization’s Twitter page. We can’t avoid it, it’s there.
Each use of social media is incredibly important but they should remain as far from away from each other as possible. When the two are merged, you may need a boxing ring because a fight is destined to happen. Personal use of social media really has no boundaries. You can post pictures from your beach vacation in Cancun, you can blog about your religious beliefs and you can like or dislike posts on other social media participants’ pages. The possibilities are simply endless. When using social media personally, you can be who you want and say what you want. Your main goal is to let your friends, followers and readers know about YOU and your thoughts and opinions. This is very different from the professional use of social media.
Professional use is full of boundaries and requires guidelines in order to be effective and of course…professional. Unlike the goal of personal use, professional use serves a very different purpose. It makes a cause, organization or company’s presence known to millions and millions of people. Either an event is promoted, a product or service is marketed, a cause/stance is made clear or questions are answered. Professional use really isn’t about “making friends” or being “social”, it really is about presence. Before newspapers/magazines and television were the only outlets to reach people but now that social media is so big, professionals and professional organizations have to participate. If they don’t and remain silent, it is possible that people will lose interest or react negatively. Training is also very important with the professional use of social media. Any volunteer or employee who will be controlling the social media activity must have proper training. They need to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it and who to say it to. It’s almost like you only get one shot and it better be GOOD!
Truly understanding the difference of the two uses is cloudy for some and could possibly lead to some tough consequences. I think everyone should really examine their purpose before posting. Ask yourself, “personal or professional?” and remember the playbook is very different for each one.