How to use Facebook as a professional tool

Spoiler: This is not a judgmental post! It is strictly aimed at our professional image based on true reality and does not reflect any personal opinion.

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I always see translators using Facebook as if there were no tomorrow. I mean, they simply do not think before publishing anything publicly, to absolutely anyone who is their friend.

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I like to think of Facebook like real life, but on-line. Do you wear mini-skirts and speak bad language in church? Well, although I am not the most religious person out there, I do hope you do not do that. Do you behave with your parents or treat them the same way you treat your closest friends? Do you speak to them the same way? I am positively sure you do not do that. You may drink A LOT at a wild party and even end up in hospital, but your mom or your boss will not even dream that has happened, right? So why… why, oh, why do people do not follow those same society rules on-line? Yeah, yeah, I know, the page is yours so you do whatever you want with it. Yeah, right. But then do not complain about your professional reputation being damaged because of your personal behavior on-line. You can certainly do whatever you want, but you should not share everything with absolutely all your Facebook friends. You could lose a potential client because of that. Think about it.

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Just like in real life, social media also has its best practices, if you do not want people judging you by the cover (literally). Therefore, choose your profile picture carefully. Of course it would be fantastic to have it taken by a professional, but it is not essential. Choose one where your face can be easily recognizable, no sunglasses, not taken by faraway. Your profile is yours, right? So why use a picture of your cat/dog/bird/husband/wife/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever-you-like? Also, be careful with the position the picture is taken. If it is taken from above and you are wearing a low-cut blouse, it may look vulgar. (Before judging the previous sentence, please read the spoiler in the top again.)

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The same holds true for pictures in general. The difference is, for pictures added in albums, as well as other general posts on your timeline, you can control who has access to them. So, bottom line is, yes, you can publish anything you feel like publishing, provided that you separate them by lists.

The chunk of my presentation was to explain how to create lists, send friends to those lists and restrict your posts using them. I already covered this step by step in a blog post, How to manage your Facebook friends like a pro, so I will not repeat it here. Read it and, should you have any doubts, do let me know.

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When sharing some article or post you found on the internet, always check the source. Make sure it is reliable and not something made up or some gossip. Also, I always read the article before sharing it, because the title can be misleading, and the content itself may contain something you do not agree with, for example. I do not like sharing texts with poorly written content either, for example, with grammar mistakes, typos and the like. The content itself may be fantastic, but the way it is written can affect your image, because whether you like it or not, you are sort of endorsing what you are sharing. So be extra careful.

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Topics that involve religion, football and politics are always controversial, even in real life, right? People usually try to avoid them in conversations. Do the same on social media. Avoid or carefully restrict controversial topics. If you have a strong opinion on politics, for example, that is totally against your potential client’s strong opinion, it may affect their decision to contact you for a job or not. Unfortunately, that is the naked truth. And since we have plenty of friends on Facebook and we even end up unfollowing some of them, we may lose track of who is following us or not, and we can simply forget we are friends with that person. It happens a lot with me.

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I also briefly mentioned about the difference between a profile and a page. I have a personal profile and a professional page. Both are different and serve different purposes. I usually like saying people will not be friends with your brand, but like and follow it. Besides having analytics information about your followers, you have plenty of other functionalities you do not have in a profile. For example, you can add action buttons, your working hours, a customized link, among others. In the presentation, I mentioned how I was able to add “Tradutor” (translator) right below my page name. Many people asked me how I was able to do that, so I decided to give it a special mention. However, unfortunately, they have changed it in the past weeks. Now, your username is displayed right below your name. Anyway, you can choose how you want it to be displayed, and your customized URL will be created accordingly. Well, play around with your own page on the About tab and find out everything you can add. Remember, should you have any doubts, do let me know. 😉

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You can find the PowerPoint presentation of my talk on SlideShare.

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How to manage your Facebook friends like a pro

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Contrary to what most people think, Facebook (and any other social media) is not an alien world where you behave the way you wish, differently from real life. The same rules and common sense that apply in real life must be applied on Facebook as well. And in real life, everybody has several personas played accordingly in each situation. For example, you do not behave the same way in church as you do among your close friends; your boss does not know you as well as your family does. So why share absolutely everything with pretty much everyone who is your friend on Facebook? That picture of you, totally toasted one night at a bar may not convey a good image of yourself to your boss or a potential client (we never know who may have access to it).

“I don’t care what people think about me!”

Well, on social media, you should, especially if it can jeopardize your professional life.

We cannot help it. People will add us as friends on Facebook, regardless of the contact you have had with them and your level of intimacy. In the beginning, I was reluctant to accept requests from people I did not know. With time, I learned that was useless, especially if you are an online person. People may know you, even though you do not know them. Because of that, we may end up having total strangers as friends on Facebook or acquaintances whose friend requests you cannot ignore for any reason, but with whom you do not wish to share absolutely everything you post.

The good thing that most people do not know is that you can create custom friend lists on Facebook in order to easily and quickly restrict what people see, from photo albums to single posts you share.

To create a custom friend list: Scroll down to Friends on the left side of your News Feed. Hover over Friends and click More. Click + Create List. Enter a name for your list and the names of your existing friends you’d like to add to it. Click Create. You can add or remove friends from your lists at any time.

Don’t worry! People do not get notified when you add them to these lists. And you can create several lists. For example, “Family”, “Besties”, “Work”, “Church”, “Strangers”, etc.

You can send someone to a list straight when you send them a friend request: After adding the person, click Friend Request Sent. Select the list you want to add them to. If the list you want is not visible, select Add to another list… to see all of your lists or create a new one.

You can also send someone to a list when you accept their friend request: After confirming their request, hover over the Friends button next to the person’s name still on Friend Requests (at the top of the Facebook page) and select the list you want to add them to. If the list you want is not visible, select Add to another list… to see all of your lists or create a new one.

Whenever you want to add or remove someone from a list, scroll down to Friends on the left side of your News Feed. Hover over Friends and click More. Click on the list you want and then Manage List on the upper right corner of the page. Click Edit List. You can also delete and rename the list here. On this window, you can click on the person you want to remove from the list. Click on the dropdown On This List to add someone from your Friends, Pages or Following list.

Now, when you post something (status updates, photos and others), you can use the audience selector tool (dropdown menu beside Post on What’s on your mind? or with a gearing wheel on your albums). It lets you choose a specific audience:

  • Public: anyone, including people off of Facebook
  • Friends of Friends
  • Friends (+ friends of anyone tagged)
  • Only Me
  • Custom: this is where you are able to choose who you want to share or not to share your post with (lists, specific people, groups, networks)

I suggest you start by creating your lists. Then review every one of your existing friends and send them to specific lists, or take the chance to unfriend them if you feel like doing so. Uncluttering is also a good practice from time to time.

Another great Facebook feature is the Timeline review. It lets you choose whether posts you are tagged in by other people appear on your Timeline. When people you are not friends with tag you in a post, they automatically go to Timeline review. By doing this, you can accept or reject a tag, depending on your wish to show it on your Timeline or not. You can do the same with all tags:

Click on the arrow at the top right of the Facebook page and select Settings. In the left column, click Timeline and Tagging. Look for Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline? and click Edit to the far right. Select Enabled from the dropdown menu.

Also in Settings, take the time to review your current settings, especially the privacy ones. For example, you can restrict who can contact you and who can look you up, block users, etc.

Should you have any other doubts, check the Friend Lists section of Facebook’s Help Center.

Show your love for Carol’s Adventures in Translation

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EXTRA! EXTRA! There’s a competition in the air.

This is an extraordinary blog post to let you know that the Top 100 Language Lovers 2015 is on. It’s a competition organized by Lexiophiles and bab.la to find the 100 best language lovers, divided into five categories: Language Learning Blogs, Language Professional Blogs, Language Facebook Pages, Language Twitter Accounts and Language YouTube Channels.

Last year, I was ranked as #19 Top Language Twitterer thanks to people who helped by nominating me, and then voting for me on the second phase of the competition. I’d like to kindly ask your help nominating my Facebook page and/or my Twitter account, if you like any or all of them. As to the blog, I’ve just received the great news that it has already been automatically nominated! 😀

Here’s the link.

Information to be filled out:

Name: Caroline Alberoni
Email: caroline@alberoni.com.br
URL of Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/alberoni.translations
URL of Twitter account: twitter.com/AlberoniTrans

You need to indicate each category separately.

The nomination phase ends on May 24th.

THANK YOU!

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed. 😀