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How to become famous (not infamous) on Twitter: 5 lessons learned from Anthony Weiner and his…

What bad timing! Just as I’m about to convince the world about the magical properties of Twitter for the job search-– Anthony Weiner, State representative from NY spoils everything. Weiner has achieved infamy, dragging Twitter through the dirt too and perpetuating the notion that if you use Twitter it can only be hazardous to your reputation and personal privacy. Weiner has to take some responsibility for this rather unfortunate mishap and for allowing his account to be hacked. Allow? Yes. He allowed his account to be hacked by not following one or more of the basic tenets of being a webizen. This is Internet 101 stuff.

But this is besides the point. The point is that people are fearful of being exposed {no pun intended} on the Internet in a bad way and this is what holds so many back from using tools like Twitter that can in fact, dramatically enhance your job search efforts and long term career success, if you learn how to leverage it. The fact is that Social Networking, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, have become an integral part of life, and a critical part of the business world too. They have certainly revolutionized career management, and how one finds work. And did I mention that there are approximately 600 million people on Facebook and over 1.5 million active users on Twitter, give or take a few and the majority of accounts are never hacked into. The chances of getting your email hacked these days is increasing at an alarming rate and the criteria are random.

In the first part of this series about Online Reputation Management, I want to talk about how to use Twitter without comprising your privacy or gaining infamy.

1. Think before you Tweet. Don’t say or do anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother or future boss at your dream job to see. Twitter is a great way to get a job and even greater way to lose one. When tweeting, there are a few guidelines you should follow: don’t say anything that would embarrass you in front of a future in-law or your potential boss at your dream job. Since we advise that Twitter a great way to build your brand and cultivate a professional network, be mindful of not only the followers you have but also any potential readers of your Twitter stream. By following simple web etiquette or “netiquette”, you can avoid jeopardizing your reputation and career as a potential Cisco employee learned the hard way when he didn’t follow these rules and tweeted “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” The response: “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We at Cisco are versed in the web.”

2. Establish Herculean Strength Security Last December the Wall Street Journal analyzed the leaked email data of a popular website, Gawker.com that was hacked into. It produced a list of the top 50 commonly used Gawker passwords. Incredulously, the list is filled with “security no-nos, such as ascending numbers and other easy-to-guess words” What were these people thinking, in this time? Most websites today will tell you how week, medium or strong is. Gmail has an excellent tool to help you determine the strength of your password or just go straight to  this Password strength Calculator. Don’t say another word, just go there immediately!

3. Verify all Apps at the Door: Don’t install unauthorized apps. Everywhere you turn online there is a new app jumping out at you. There are however a number of legitimate and really worthwhile apps for your job search including: Tweetmyjobs.com Wefollow.com and Twellow.com to name a few. While most apps look harmless, when on Facebook or Twitter, always be cautious of the APPs that you accept and confirm their legitimacy with tools like OAUTH

4. Know your friends and followers and be acutely aware of what they do and say on your Twitter and Facebook wall.  One recent grad I met acknowledged that her own mother was a liability to her reputation on FB and was on heightened privacy at all times. On twitter, there is certain company you don’t want to keep and you don’t need to if you don’t want to. Twitter is by nature, your automatic, free 24/7 PR agency, if you have something relatively worthy to say. You just want to make sure you have the right “reps” working for you. Just as important as choosing your words wisely, so should you your “friends” and “followers”. Every follower or “friend” IS a reflection of you.

5. Add a doorbell to your twitter account. Not enamored about having a public account but you want to benefit from having the exponential access Twitter allows you?  No problem. Twitter allows you to maintain  a completely private profile, with no-one except the followers you chose to accept get to see your tweets, and you theirs. Keep the door to your Twitterverse closed, until you are ready to let more people in, and others out!

In an earlier post on 5 Myths about Twitter, I wrote ” in the new world of Social Media, privacy is  an oxymoron, but then again, identity theft was around long before Twitter and other social networking sites were invented.  The point is that while participating on Twitter is an “anything goes” roof party, or if you wish, London’s (in)famous “Speakers Corner” the fact that all powerful Google can find almost anything, and people will be “listening” to what you say,   so  tweet on, but Tweet wisely. Maintain a highly professional presence, no matter what. Social media is viral by nature, and you never know what will make it out into the Google sphere of influence!

Follow me on Twitter @careerfolk, or if you prefer, friend me on Facebook.. Maybe you’re more comfortable on Linkedin? What is your preference? Tell me here, I would love your comments below.

Ready to Bold the new frontier and learn how Twitter can supercharge your Job Search, Join me on June 14th for my first ever Twitter Intensive! Read here about the best-kept secrets on Twitter and it’s superpowers! READ here for more!

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