Social Media and the Records Management Professional – Part 4: ‘Social’ Social Media

social-networkingI love social media.  I think it’s one of the truly great byproducts of the Internet Age.  But even social media diehards like me can’t possibly manage meaningful engagement over more than three or four different social channels.  It would be nice if we could, but there simply isn’t enough time in the day.

And because I have a pretty clear objective for using social media – promoting effective, next generation records management methodologies – I have limited the vast majority of my time spent there to channels that I believe are best equipped to help me meet my goals (i.e. LinkedIn, WordPress, and Twitter).

That said, I can’t deny that I enjoy the ‘social’ part of social media, too.  Who doesn’t want to see pictures of out-of-town family members, stay connected with old college friends or watch the occasional hilarious cat video?  So I’ve consciously decided to select one channel as my ‘social’ social media outlet.

Now I like to stay (at least somewhat) current, so before I selected my ‘social’ social media outlet, I asked my friends and family which channel they thought made the most sense.  My Millennial co-workers and family members almost uniformly insisted I join Instagram because, apparently, “that’s where all the cool people are.”  A few others think I absolutely need to be on Snapchat.  (And one ‘friend’ even suggested I sign up for a Tinder account – despite my blissfully happy marriage to a wife who would undoubtedly disagree with him.)

But like most people, I’ve had a Facebook account for quite a while and, in the end, it just made sense to stick with that.  So a year or so ago, after being completely off Facebook for a long while, I jumped back in again.

But this time was different. This time I had a strategy to keep my Facebook use purely social.  Or, more specifically, to keep it ‘non-professional.’

By ‘non-professional’ I simply mean this: I now openly recognize that my time on Facebook is purely for my own entertainment and I won’t lie to myself (as I had done in the past) and pretend that my Facebook activity is helping in any way to meet my next generation records management goals.

I know all of this may sound like overkill and, admittedly, it may not work for everyone.  But where I once had spent so much time on Facebook that I would often feel like I needed intervention, understanding that I could no longer rationalize my Facebook time made it much easier to strictly limit the time I spent on it, all while enjoying that time a great deal more.

But here’s the important thing to keep in mind: Facebook, or Instagram, or Snapchat, or any other social media channel are all components of your personal brand.  What you post or comment on or reply to is out there for all the world to see and reflects on who you are as a person, but also as a professional.  You cannot separate the two.

So do yourself a favor.  Take advantage of the ‘social’ aspect of social media.  It would be a shame not to.  Spend some time on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram.  But never stop thinking about your personal brand and your image as a records management professional while you’re doing it.

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