Social Media Etiquette For Professionals Part 1: LinkedIn.


We owe a great deal  of gratitude to Mark Zuckeburg for introducing us to one of the widely used social media platforms. We also owe the same amount of gratitude to our local MNOs for enabling us in more ways that one to connect to the internet thereby living a digital footprint that can be traced years and years later.

Ever been on Facebook and you are prompted with a post memory from maybe 5 years ago and you are horrified by the post because in some cases it doesn’t really depict your current views on the subject on the post. Now imagine how many possible employers, possible business partners etc who might have seen that post and concluded on your persona solely based on that particular post. In this digital era, you can never be careless with your posts because you are leaving a digital footprint on social media.


This hub for professionals is usually dominated with head hunters who in some cases will recruit you based on the strength of your profile. In a bid to strengthen profiles, some people tend to:

  1. Patch up their professional background to earn more points on the recruiter’s scoreboard
  2. Like and comment on posts they have no background of.
  3. Link with other professionals whose backgrounds they don’t know.
  4. Associate themselves with corporates they have no background of.
  5. Post things that are jargon rich but lack professional depth and therefore useless to the layperson reading it.
  6. Try to link with Industry gurus because “you never know”

When patching up your professional background, you may get away with it but, the references on that profile will sell you out at some point and that one alone will be grounds for dismissal in some organizations and in some situations, you risk elimination by LinkedIn recruiters because you will be branded a fraud.

Liking and commenting on posts that look professional, sound professional and definitely from a professional is a cool thing except on one condition. Some posts in a no direct way may decampaign another organization which may in the future want to hire you or your services. Since your digital footprint is generally supplied for free to your connections your recruiters maybe be put off by a small like or comment on a post that is indirectly attacking them..

Imagine one of the people you are connected to and or you constantly engage with on social media wakes up tomorrow headlining for a scandal as huge as maybe being linked to the infamous 9/11. Do you think the US government will ever recruit you after going through your professional connections on LinkedIn and discover even in a minute way that you are associated with a terrorist? Elimination by association may affect you simply because you are in a small way linked to someone.

Some industries in some countries we shall not name have a history of using child labour, among other scandals, do you think ethical recruiters will overlook that and just hire you in good faith when you are associated with them on a professional public platform?

Have you ever found yourself reading 3 lines of an article discover its not making sense then close it thereafter without reading the rest of it because the writer used a lot of big words that are not making sense and wasting your time trying to understand the article?

What Am I saying?

We are underestimating digitization. We are underestimating our social media presence’s influence on our future as professionals. Developers are coming up with products, applications, algorithms, systems and services to make life easier on a daily basis. Has it ever occurred to you that there maybe a system that can harvest all your public activities on LinkedIn in one goal and show it to someone in one click?

Why are you connecting with someone without investigating their background first. Why are you affiliated to an organization in India one that you know nothing of or their background or their operations? Why would you comment and say something on sensitive topics such as religion and politics on a professional platform like linked in. (We have heard of a recruiter who was looking at a person’s social media page and saw their comment on a certain church and they were offended). Do you think that recruiter acted professionally and put their feelings aside and considered that applicant?

Though these things may be small in our myopic eyes, they influence our future as professionals in a huge way. Don’t let a simple like make a recruiter or potential partner pass you by. Investigate before putting your digital print to it. More like know where your leg if going to step on first before it does. You wouldn’t want to step on an adder or a stick that will trip you over would you?

About Guest Author Rose Masayile

Rose is a brand message and social media specialist at Controvert, the parent company of Techzim. Her daily grind is to work with ad agencies and brand managers to construct and distribute brand messages in the digital universe 

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