Technology 101: Four common mistakes to avoid on Facebook

by Olwatobi Soyombo

The Mark Zuckerberg created Social Networking platform has seen a huge growth since 2004 when it was founded. Really, facebook is one of the greatest things that happened to Socail Media and the internet as a whole. As at September 2011, facebook has over 800 million active users. It is difficult to see a youth that is unaware of facebook.

The emergence of facebook has changed virtually everything social. These changes have even swept across the corporate world. I have seen employees get fired just because of misbehaving on facebook. Numerous people have had their contracts terminated simply because of one thing or the other relating to facebook. I have heard stories of how people got queried at work for not checking the last facebook message of their boss. Today, companies now check facebook profiles of job applicants before even granting an interview. Facebook can help you get hired or fired. Trust me!

So, what does this imply? It simply means that we all have to be smart in our use of this social media platform. Why? You can never be sure of who is checking out on you. It is a 21st Century reality that people are now turning to facebook as their first help whenever they’re searching for someone (such as old time friends and the likes).

Let’s quickly consider four facebook smart guidelines:

  • Never Hide your wall and profile information: I wonder why people do this in the first place. It can be very confusing and frustrating searching for an old school mate only to get to his wall and not find any information about him. I believe that facebook is supposed to connect you with people. So, there is no point in hiding your information from people who want to connect with you. Revealing your information to everyone increases your chances of being found quickly. It is possible to have more than one “Oluwatobi Soyombo” on facebook; but the chances of having two “Olwatobi Soyombo” with the same profile information are very slim. Do you know that profile information often help in determining whether you are about to add/confirm the right person or not? So, making your profile visible to everyone makes people sure of the person their connecting with as well.
  • Profile Picture Misrepresentation: I am sure you must have found people who use their dog as their profile picture. This can mislead potential friends. Using something else other than your real picture can also make people refuse to add or confirm you as friend. However, there are cases when you may have to use another image as your profile picture. Take for instance, a public speaker might decide to use the poster design of his next engagement as his profile picture. In whatever case, make sure your profile complements who you are. So, from this perspective, using a dog as your profile picture might just mean that you are a dog dealer. Making images like “Love is Wicked”, “Money on my mind” and all sorts of questionable short quotes are bad facebook practises. Though, acceptable with facebook regulations they are uncomplementary and unprofessional.
  • Use your real name: Picture this. My name is “Oluwatobi”. How will my friends connect with me if I use something like “Ohlhuhwhahthohbhih” as my profile name on facebook. The first implication of this is that people searching for you will find it very difficult to find you. In fact, I doubt if they will. This is because they will be searching for your real name and not your custom or nick name. The second implication is that your boss or anyone capable of rewarding you might lose trust in you. The best recommended convention is simply using your real name or simply the name your audience are more familiar with. It’s always funny to hear people ask me “what’s your facebook name?”
  • Avoid linking your twitter account with your facebook account: Sincerely, I have made this mistake in time past. This rule applies strictly to heavy twitter users. It’s okay to link both if you only tweet once in a while. The advantage of linking them is that it will save you the stress of re-posting the same update on facebook. While this is great for non-frequent twitter users, it stands as a great disadvantage to heavy users. Twitter is basically a micro-blogging platform where on-the-go activities can be tweeted. So, linking your facebook account with it will flood your facebook wall with too many unnecessary updates.

It is important to see facebook as a personal/Corporate brand tool. So, you must put in efforts to ensure its effectiveness. I have watched some friends lose their credibility on facebook. On the other hand, I and many other people have greatly benefitted from facebook. Remember, people may not know who you are off-facebook, what matters most is the “effectiveness and genuineness” of your facebook activities. Evolve!

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