Being Professional on Social Media

Laurie Pinder, Reporter

Julia O’Malley gave a lecture titled, “Selfies, Tone and the Fragile Business of being Professional on Social Media,” at the UAA Professional Studies Building on March 31.

About 30 people, ranging in age from 30 to 60 years old, attended the lecture.

O’Malley discussed a variety of topics, from improperly using social media like posting selfies of drinking wine from a bottle, to the importance of not being culturally illiterate, and the proper way of using posting useful and interesting things on your feed.

There are two types of people that use social media: Digital Natives and Non-Digital Natives. Digital Natives are generally younger people who’ve always had some exposure to social media. Non-Digital Natives are generally older adults who are still yet to understand the Internet since they were not exposed to social media when they were younger.

An Anchorage resident, Peter Dunlap-Shoal, is a retiree who has been using social media for nearly eight years. He uses Twitter and Facebook and uses them a couple times a day. “I post artwork and observations about life and family,” Dunlap-Shoal said. When asked how many friends or family members improperly use social media, Dunlap-Shoal replied, “Not a lot, but a few seem pretty judicious in their posting.”

For posting on your feed, O’Malley advises to be real but not too real. She also advises to watch out for negativity, snark, treating your feeds like a journal, ranting, and bragging. A big advice from her to avoid the negativity by not engaging, instead hide their comment but don’t unfriend, do not reply. “Friend more, do less dumb stuff,” O’Malley said.

When asked where she learned this from, O’Malley said, “I just learned it from trial and error… I worked at the paper while the platforms were sort of developing and becoming of age…Just using the platforms over and over again over time in my professional life.”

A local UAA student, Michael Miller, is a 25-year-old who checks his Instagram and Twitter three times a day every other day. “It’s kind of like when you go to the fridge and then you look at the fridge and there’s nothing in there, you come back 10 minutes later and there’s still nothing in there,” Miller joked. When asked what he posts on his feed, Miller replied, “I ride the bus a lot so I post a lot of things about the bus and food…My twitter feed is nothing but the bus, like, ‘I hate the bus, bus 45 sucks.’”

O’Malley recommends you ask yourself four helpful questions before posting on your feeds: 1. Is it interesting? 2. Is it useful? 3. Is it funny? 4. Might it move or motivate people?

When thinking of posting a selfie, O’Malley remarked that everyone is not interested in seeing your face daily, instead show your surrounds and photograph the world around you since everyone in Alaska is gifted to live in such a beautiful state.