Monday, May 17, 2010

Raising social awareness

This post is in light of what happened in Sydney, to 18 year old Nona Belomesoff, who was lured by a teen who claimed he loved animals on Facebook and claimed he had been working for Discovery Channel. He lured Nona to a site for potential training for a future job and her body was found yesterday.

The internet is always going to be used by predators and by people who can access all sorts of information. While I am a firm believer in and of social media, marketing and networking and finding potential jobs on the Internet, I do believe in keeping certain details private.

In a sense, I believe in building a brand and a profile of yourself that does not have to contain information such as the year you were born, who you are in a relationship with and your physical home address and school you currently attend. Unless there is a reason why you as a business and a brand are using these details. My Facebook is private and I am very aware that my blog is public and open to public scrutiny and that my Twitter updates are seen by everyone.

In terms of networking, finding jobs and building a business brand, social media is and has proved a very positive experience for me and other small business owners. However, I am aware that each Twitter update is just a glimpse into my life and each blog post does not contain any information which might cause difficulties for me at a later stage.

Pictures, well people can access pictures on Twitter and public blogs, I selected a generic picture of myself. Facebook does give the option to set up all your personal information and details to friends only; look at your friends carefully and only select friends who you know, have had contact with (a lot of mine are diabetes bloggers and authors) or are genuinely friends of yours.

Men (often, really often) ask to be added as your friend on all social media sites because they can access your and your friends pictures and all your details. Don't add them, block them instead.

Nona's parents and police have advised teens to remove people thay don't know and to remove intricate details off their sites and inappropriate pictures of themselves. Change your settings on all social media sites and pretend that all your public profiles are for a potential job interview. When people find you on the Internet, who do they see, what do they read about you and do they believe in you initially, virtually?

Let employers see you at your best and get a general overview of who you are. If they want to know more about you and general details if they are going to be offering you a job; let them ask you in an interview setting. An appropriate interview setting in daylight, in an office meeting.

While I do agree that blogs are seen as a personal journal and people choose their own subject matter; some people are very aware that their journals are online and in the public eye and they are very aware of what they put up on their journals. If yours is inapproppriate, has inappropriate details such as names, pictures, too much information and is becoming more of an extremely personal diary; take it down, in other words, delete it.

I am fully aware that I have been posting, be open and be aware of wonder. I have never outright lied on any of my posts, updates or information I give out. I am very aware that sites which are public and accessible to all need to be maintained. Not everyone wants to hear your ultra personal far too much unasked for information. Keep that information to friends who you know outsides of sites and people you trust.

In terms of building a business and a profile I am teaching my clients about being a brand without telling people every single fascinating and sometimes boring detail about yourself. I am chatty, informal, a bookworm, I am building a business, learning and asking questions and discovering life and learning all sorts of things I want to share; I teach clients the same, what information are you happy to give out to the public and which information is reserved for your consumers and clients on a need to know basis?

Being aware and being open is about being open to chances, to new experiences, to a potential job; I do not advocate being open in any way that you can put your life in danger. In some ways I am extremely aware of how open and easily accessible the Internet is to predators. That there are sick people out there who see social media, see networking and marketing on the Internet as a way to lure people and fulfill their own fantasies.

However there are thousands, millions of people who are who they are. Who are aware and are using social media sites to connect, to learn, to discover, to build brands, to market, to find like minded people and use social media sites as another way to help them attract consumers and clients.

These people do not mind if you ask them to send them details reagarding training, or who else is going, or if you can contact someone to discuss the training further. They send emails with their business cards, letters with their letter heads, these are people you can learn to trust. And these are people who don't mind if you need to know more details and more information about a job, or coming for training somewhere.

R.I.P. Nona Belomesoff.

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