Recently I was scouring a fraternity forum, and saw a young man defending some of the drunken pictures that had been posted. In his words, “First, I would like to say, shame on those of you who look down on your Brothers for having a good time and shame on you for saying such harsh words as disowning your Brothers.” Fraternities have long tried to distance themselves from the “frat” image, but social media + fraternity letters has sent many organizations two steps back. Some fraternities have set social media policies to protect their images. Sigma Phi Epsilon best practices state, “Be conscious of how your chapter brothers are using social media sites, individually and on chapter accounts. Chapter members should not be identifying themselves as SigEps via usernames, titles, captions, clothing, etc. if they are participating in inappropriate or unlawful behavior, using illegal substances, or failing to live up to the Cardinal Principles of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love.”
In a growing social media world, most companies have developed social media policies to protect their brand image. While you do have the right to express yourself online, you need to realize you have a personal brand to protect. Whatever you post online can be permanent record, and can come back to bite you when you finally calm down and start looking for a career. I’m speaking from wisdom as I may one day find myself in a conundrum because I did some underwear modeling and was a streaker in college…on the reg.
Deciding what to post is really easy if you’re thinking beyond the moment. In fact, “A Guy’s Guide to Posting Selfies” can be summed up by two words: common sense. Before you post, ask yourself if you would be fine having a future employer come across the photo. However, since we’re guys and we need things in black and white, I’ve compiled a list of 6 don’ts when posting:
1. Don’t post selfies while driving
As I’m writing this, there are 3,800 posts on Instagram with #drivingselfie. Post one of these and an employer comes across it? No company car for you….ever. Even if you’re job will never entail driving, a #drivingselfie pic makes you look irresponsible.
2. Don’t post selfies with illegal substances
In fact, don’t post any selfies when you’re drunk. If your picture shows up on totalfratmove.com…you lose. If you’re really concerned about building your personal brand, it doesn’t hurt to be conservative. Some people even go so far as to not take any pictures with alcohol in them.
3. Don’t post naked selfies
Too many celebrity birthday suit pics have gone viral, so make sure a google search of your name comes up clean. It’s probably a good idea to erase anything inappropriate from your phone. No one likes a “leak.”
4. Don’t post anything discriminatory
As a good guy, racism shouldn’t even exist in your sphere, but be conscience of how your actions might come across. Julianne Hough stirred up some major controversy by dressing up as Crazy Eyes for her Halloween costume. While she dressed up as homage to her favorite character, she wore blackface…extremely offensive to our African American brothers and sisters.
5. Don’t post funeral selfies
I don’t get it…funeral selfies are a growing trend? The problem is, it’s disrespectful. Stay classy. Keep your posts respectful. In fact, watch yourself when posting selfies from a disaster site. A funny post…not appropriate.
6. Don’t post pics of anyone in a compromised position
It might be funny at the time, but make sure you’re not crossing any lines. If you post a picture of a drunk girl and it shows up on chives.com…you’re a jerk. Be aware of how the pictures you post might affect another’s reputation. You might find yourself in a legal situation.
Go ahead and express yourself all you want, but consider the consequences before you post. Your pictures can affect your personal brand, your group’s reputation, or your company’s image. In fact, a UK study indicates oversharing Facebook photos can damage real-life relationships. Think beyond the moment and beyond yourself, and snap away.