I’ve written to you all about how to keep a well-respected and sophisticated social media site, but now I want to discuss the things that you want to avoid. This post is about what not to do in social media sites, including topics that you shouldn’t discuss and things that you shouldn’t put on your site.

According to Alison Doyle, there are many do’s and don’ts in social media. We should all understand these, so carefully read her article here. I wanted to note a few of her tips on what not to do with your social media site. First of all, her point about not getting fired is good because she wants you to know how easily others can read your posts, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or many other sites. You might want to rethink an angry or negative post, especially if it’s about someone.

Let’s say you post a status about someone who upset you in some way. Even if you’re not friends with this person, the chances that you have mutual friends are high. How many times have you said, “Wow, it’s such a small world” because you found that two people you know have known each other for years? This gives you plenty of reason to be cautious of words that can hurt someone else.

Insensitive posts can hurt someone’s feelings, but employers (even graduate school can also view these posts and any unprofessional pictures or actions on your social media sites. If you showcase an unprofessional and less-than-sophisticated attitude outside of work, your employers, both current and potential, could view these as actions that you might carry into the workplace. Be careful with not only your posts but also your pictures on your social media sites.

Another mark of sophistication that employers and graduate school directors will pay attention to is your privacy settings. Read through Stephanie Buck’s list of 12 social media don’ts. Though you should always be careful of your site content, regardless of your privacy settings, others will notice the way you attempt to protect yourself. If you protect your content well, visitors to your site, whether you know them or not, will see that you care about yourself enough to guard your posts and pictures from others.

Respect yourself enough in your social media sites so that others can see the value in your that you see in yourself. These tips are helpful not only while you’re in grad school, but they’ll also help in your preparations as you begin applying to graduate schools. With that, view PhDStudent’s pages on applying to grad school and surviving in grad school. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments over what to do and what not to do in social media as a graduate student.


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