Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a close acquaintance of mine, who is also the Director of Emerging Technologies and Social Media for a big advertising firm. I asked him to take a look at my blog and linkedin profile to see if he can give me any advice for improvement. He brought up something that took me by surprise. He said, “Why do you have your picture up on all of your social media sites? People don’t need to know how old you are.”
I was a bit surprised because one of the big things I’ve heard from the social media community is how important it is to be consistent in your online presence. Use the same picture for your twitter, linkedin, facebook, etc to build your personal brand recognition.
I think sometimes we get caught up in all that social media has to offer and forget the reality of some situations. What we so quickly forgot is that there is a great deal of bias in human beings. Everything from your age and gender to your race and religion can and does effect how people view you.
As most of my readers know, I am going to be graduating soon and I am looking for a job. Social media has given me amazing networking opportunities, allowing me to communicate on a daily basis with people that I never would have met..but has it also hurt me? In this new age of transparency, where you’re expected to be honest and open with who you are, I have put who I am out there for anyone to see. By doing so, I may have also given a lot of companies a reason to weed me out of their recruitment process. Sometimes, all it takes is a picture.
I opted to keep my pictures up and to continue using social media as I have been, because I believe in the values of transparency and honesty. I think its something that the professional world has lacked in the past and social media is helping us change that.
Am I being naive? I am looking for an entry-level job in one of the toughest job markets this country has seen in a long time and cannot afford to sacrifice any opportunities. Should I be more careful? How will bias play a role in the “Age of Transparency”? … What’s your take?