Social media like a coin has two sides. It can build an individual but again just a single error or misunderstood content will throw one into deep troubles, with attacks even on personal life that have massive effects on the victim. These are some of the strategies you can employ to separate your personal and professional life online:

1. Recreate Offline boundaries

In order to stay online as a professional, you can use the boundaries of interactions that you employ offline to your online usage. You can in some way recreate in social media the kinds of boundaries, or mental fences, you use in real life to organize your online world. These boundaries have proven to work offline meaning they have a higher chance of working online.

2. Know your natural online behavior

Before making any conscious choice of preferred social media strategy, professionals should do a quick self-diagnosis of their current, most natural online behaviour. If you value transparency and authenticity, and thus post whatever comes to mind on social media, then use an Open strategy though you must key understand this is risky. You might prefer the less risky Audience strategy, that is being careful to keep your professional and personal networks separate. The only compromise comes in when audience change like people who started as friends turning into coworkers or even bosses.

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3. Employ Content Strategy

This can be used by professionals who feel compelled to accept friend requests from professional contacts. It entails accepting these requests and resigning oneself to posting only carefully considered content. You will only post information and photos that project an image of professionalism, or at least do not undercut the reputation you are trying to earn with your boss, coworkers, and clients.

The problem with this strategy is that you can no longer vent or express vulnerability without a level of self-editing, which will make you up to some level inauthentic.

4. Custom made posts

The more posts are tailored to specific circles in a social world, the less risk there is they will cause offence or embarrassment.  Thus, for anyone willing to invest the time and effort, you can use the more sophisticated strategy, the Custom strategy, in which social media users manage both their audience and their content. This can be done on Facebook by creating two accounts, one personal and another professional with each having its own content. Custom strategies are mostly used by politicians, journalists and public figures, who often set up distinct accounts to make it absolutely clear when they are and aren’t speaking in a professional capacity.

5. Avoiding Social media altogether

Due to the risks involved, you can prefer being out of social media altogether. You should only go this way if you are ready to miss out on the advantages that come with social media based on connectivity and access to information.

But again, the important thing is for employees to make strategy choices for themselves – with their eyes open to the risks; with an understanding that no personal social media strategy is perfect and with awareness that context matters. Remember to always counter check content before posting.

 

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