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How Much Should You Disclose on Social Media?

by Erin Blakemore
freelancing

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For many freelancers, the boundaries between personal and business life are blurry at best. After all, your art keeps you up at night, dictates your friend group, and constitutes at least part of your identity. This can lead to some tricky situations when it comes to social media, which often serves a dual business/personal purpose. Here are three warning signs that you’re letting too much hang out online.

Your colleagues know what you ate for breakfast…every day this week. Sure, it’s easy to take a quick Insta of the incredible brunch you ate at that artisanal bistro, but don’t get carried away with personal details. When you’re involved in a negotiation, embroiled in a professional dispute or just feeling like some private time, a boundariless approach to your personal and professional lives can backfire. Next time you feel like grabbing the camera and posting something that’s a bit too revealing (or revealing in its mundanity), ask yourself whether it makes sense.

You vent regularly about your job. Social media can be an incredible form of support for freelancers, who are often isolated in at-home workplaces. But nobody—at a traditional office or an in-person one—wants to hear someone moan, complain, and bring negative energy everywhere they go. In fact, one complaint too many can make you unpalatable as a potential business partner, networking contact or hire. Try choosing a carefully-filtered group of friends as an audience for your most negative emotions.

You don’t know when to stop. There’s nothing more awkward than opening up a tweet or comment box to find that someone you know is getting into a flame war. If you find yourself using rude language, getting into constant confrontations, or bringing personal altercations online, you’ve gone too far. Try a social media fast to realign your priorities and remember your manners.

Social media is a fluid medium, so there are no set rules. That can make it difficult to understand when and how to use it appropriately. Remember: authenticity is key. But that doesn’t mean you should use the medium in a way that has a chance to embarrass or harm you in the future. Remember the golden rule and always ask yourself if something is appropriate before you post. It may seem like a bummer now, but your reputation (and a future Google search with your name attached) will thank you.

If you’re starting a freelance career, or looking to grow your existing business, download our Free eBook, The Essential Guide to Launching a Freelance Career.

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Erin Blakemore

Erin Blakemore is a library school drop-out, historian, freelance writer, and author of the award-winning The Heroine’s Bookshelf (Harper). She dishes about books, history, and channeling your inner heroine at www.erinblakemore.com