Am I sharing the right content? Personal Social Media Policy

A few months back, on a mentoring session with the Human Resources Director in Microsoft Indonesia, she shared a great tip in how we can manage our public branding and our personal social life by compartmentalizing our social media. For me, this relates to social media policies that companies usually have ( Here’s 5 terrific examples of companies doing this ). For simplicity purposes, social media policy means guideline that directs us in what we can or cannot post in our social media.

In the internet, there floats an image of a Japanese proverb, that says “The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.”. Although after some research I found that this is not actually a Japanese proverb and is derived from somewhere else, the phrase’s meaning is still true.

Imagine, in the world, you have many titles. For me, I’m a son, an advisor, a startup cofounder, a traveller, a watch enthusiast, and I can act differently depending on which role I am currently performing. Imagine a man who’s a manager, a father, and a husband. He can be stern and rather ruthless in the office, gentle to his kids, and romantic with his wife.

The same situation applies to our social media. Currently the popular social media in Indonesia from my point of view is Instagram, Facebook, Path and LinkedIn. Twitter and Tumblr is not really prevalent in my circle. But we need to be able to answer 2 questions:
1. Who is able to see what I share in this social media?
2. Am I sharing appropriate things for the people that sees what I share?

Here’s a good example from 2009, a woman got sacked because she insulted her boss on Facebook.

This is even more important in Indonesia where in the law, there is law against insulting people (below).

“(1) Barang siapa sengaja menyerang kehormatan atau nama baik seseorang dengan menuduhkan sesuatu hal, yang maksudnya terang supaya hal itu diketahui umum, diancam karena pencemaran dengan pidana penjara paling lama sembilan bulan atau pidana denda paling banyak empat ribu lima ratus rupiah.” — Pasal 310, KUHP, Bab XVI

Free translation : “Anyone who intentionally attack someone’s honor or reputation by alleging something, with intention so it is generally known, can be sued on the grounds of defamation with a maximum imprisonment of nine months or a maximum fine of four thousand five hundred rupiah”

Taking the legality issue aside, even if the woman is not fired, it’s easy to imagine that her boss will have a negative view of her which will impact her job and her performance evaluation.

Now how do you compartmentalize and define your social media policy?

1. Decide which social media you will be using

First, we need to decide on which social media we will want to be active in. This includes thinking and checking with your friends and colleagues use so you won’t fall victim to be the only one that uses a particular social media.
For me : LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

2. Decide which social media will be intended for who

Then we need to review our current social media settings, friends, likes and shares (if you already have the social media). From there, you can decide on who those content is appropriate for. After that, think of who do you want to see your particular social medias.
For me:
Facebook is for people who I’ve already met and I’m interested be friend with
LinkedIn is for my professional relationships
Instagram is for public.

3. Adjust the visibility of the social media accordingly

After we know who the social media is intended for, we can now adjust our settings to ensure what we posts there will be appropriate for the audience. For existing social media, we can adjust the visibility of our content en masse, here’s the how-to for facebook posts. But for new social media, this is much easier as you start with a clean slate.
For me:
Limiting visibility of old posts in facebook from public
Reviewing my linkedin privacy settings
Reviewing my instagram privacy settings

4. Decide what kind of content that you want to share

Here is the point where you define your personal social media policy in a more actionable pointers. In this step, you need to decide what you would like the audience in that particular social media to see. This relates to the image you want to portray in that environment, and how free you can be in the future on posts.
For me:
Facebook is for personal sharing and news, interests
LinkedIn is for news, articles, and content I write professionally
Instagram is for pictures I don’t mind anyone to see

On all social medias, I refrain from posting things of political nature.

5. Adjust your past contents to reflect

The previous step can help a lot in going forward, but for posts and shares in the past, we might need to adjust or even delete our old posts so it adheres to our personal social media policy. I’m sure I’m not the only one that is embarrassed by posts from 7 years ago.

All in all, social media is a great technology that is so pervasive in our daily and work life that we need to be careful in using. One of the best way to ensure we stay consistent is to compartmentalize our own social media and to have our own social media policy.



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