On Friday morning I talked to a bunch of 9th graders at one the International English School in TÃ¤by about social media profiles.
I told them that if they were active on social media â€“ and most of them wereâ€“ then it was high time to start branding themselves on social media sites like Facebook.
In an era where the fastest growing group on Facebook is 55-65 year old women, it's not surprising that university admissions offices and employers are getting that it's advisable to check our younger people's social media profiles. Everyone wants to know what you've been up to.
Whereas my generation got to do the silly things 15 and 16 year olds do and have all the mistakes we made fade with time, young people today have to live with Google, which indexes everything online.
Digital natives â€“ today's teens â€“ post everything online from what I can see and we're very much living in an age where word of mouth has become world of mouth. We tweet, blog, post, digg everything we think and do for our network (and the world through Google) to see.
Personal Branding Starts in Your Teens
If you're posting pictures of yourself on Facebook or Bilddagboken or the next big social community and they're not exactly the kind of thing your mother would be happy to see, you can pretty much bet that your future employer or university wouldn't approve either.
I don't think us dinosaurs have forgotten what it was like to be young, it's just that you have to remind people that you're still a model student (!) or potential great employee. For example: compare two pictures:
Just a few words can re-spin a potentially compromising picture.
My comments apply to us Generation Xers and Generation Y as well. We all need to monitor the way we communicate who we are and what we do online.
Just a choice bit of copy here and there, stressing your strengths, can make a big difference to how the rest of the world perceives you.