Social media could impact your ability to borrow, reports released as early as 2013 have suggested. Earlier this year, in fact, rumors began to circulate that FICO now analyzes information users share with their friends online. “Being ‘wasted’ on Facebook may damage your credit score,” the Financial Times wrote in October.
With December here, it’s important to check your online comments before you wreck your reputation. It can become easy to lose sight of proper etiquette on the Internet, and holiday visits with rarely seen family members — obvious potential for drama — are particularly dangerous.
Maintaining Social Media Professionalism
Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, spoke with Quizzle on the importance of maintaining professionalism, particularly in an era of grammatically belligerent social media posts.
Right or wrong, your online presence is viewed as an extension of yourself. “Most people just do not know how to behave,” Whitmore cautioned. It’s easy to put on the “Professional You” mask while at work, she added. But once outside of that element and on Facebook where interactions are lax, “Professional You” struggles to stay in control.
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“Hopefully you handle your Facebook page with professionalism,” Whitmore commented, “but that’s not always the way it is.”
Admitting that people frequently use social media platforms more like open journal entries, Whitmore reminded that social media presence represents who you are to the faceless masses. Just as hazardous is miscommunication: What is posted exists without context.
Take Caution Amid Holiday Season
Professionalism, Whitmore says, should be maintained throughout the year. The holidays provide a good opportunity to recheck yourself because of the bombardment from people outside of your day-to-day interactions.
People naturally revert into a stage of awkwardness when confronted with experiences outside of their comfort zones — something common in the month of December.
Did you know your social media use can impact your ability to borrow? Quizzle has free tools to help you keep your credit in check.
Whitmore’s 5 Pieces Of Online Etiquette Advice
- Treat online interactions with the same dignity and respect you would in a face-to-face interaction.
- Think before you post. Keep the mindset that whatever is posted is likely to be seen by your current boss, your future bosses, financial professionals, your religious leader, your grandmother and your children. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want them to see and talk about.
- Don’t say anything mean spirited or anything that could be construed as mean spirited.
- Be aware that other people also don’t know how to behave. Understand that as you work toward representing a seamless image of yourself between work and social media, others may not have the same tact.
- Alcohol fuels loose lips. Whether in person or behind a monitor, be aware that alcohol can inhibit your ability to maintain a level of professionalism.
“People don’t know how to behave [on social media],” Whitmore reiterated, “You never know who will see your posts. Think about future employees. You may lose your job in a few years and be looking for a new one.”
Don’t forget about protecting your creditworthiness, too. The same social media dangers exist for anyone who wishes to take out a loan in the future.