I recently recorded a class for LinkedIn Learning about social media.  Here is an excerpt that discusses some hard lessons learned when it comes to sharing on social media.  Sit back and watch if you have a few minutes.  I hope it helps you get more from your social media efforts and lets you avoid stress and conflict with those you have relationships with in the “real” world.

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Avoiding oversharing from Social Media for Photo and Video Pros by Richard Harrington

Avoiding oversharing on Social Media

One of the hardest things about the internet and social media is that people fall into theincorrect belief that everybody cares about everything you’re doing. Nobody cares what you had for lunch today. Nobody cares to hear your thoughts about the TV show you watched last night.So, like a book, share your story. But good books are edited and they condense things down. And they cut away to different things and they have a story and a plan and a narrative. And they don’t just simply take every single thought that’s in the author’s head and regurgitate them.

So share your story but make sure it’s a bit edited. Speaking of oversharing, couple things to keep in mind. As we mentioned, discuss with your spouse or partner. It’s very easy to share content that others might feel shouldn’t be shared publicly. Before you talk about going on vacation think about, are you comfortable letting the world know that your house is empty? Before you share information about your kid’s recital and your volunteer work, do you want people to know the names of your kids and where they go to school? Balance out online safety and the relationships that you have and if you’re going to post and show other people or tag people in posts, I strongly recommend that you request permission before you do it.

It’s much easier to get permission than it is to get forgiveness. And a lot of folks forget this when it comes to online behavior. Always try to balance your personal views with client relationships. I guarantee you that my politics don’t line up with a lot of yours but you know what? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I’m not a politician. I’m not running for office. I simply have my own personal beliefs and how I’d like to see the world run and I volunteer and give time to good causes that I believe in to help them.

But that has no business intermingling with my photography or my video. It’s not going to affect if you hire me as a client. I’ve taken on many clients through the years that I don’t agree with their political beliefs but I find that the organizations and the people I’m working with are good people who are trying to convey their beliefs and their needs in a way that’s respectful and intelligent discourse. Well, I can do work for that. Maybe you can’t. Maybe you only want to do cause-oriented stuff. Well, that’s fine, too but always balance this out and ask yourself, if your political beliefs or your religious beliefs are getting in the way of working with potential clients.

If that’s something you can’t solve, well, then you’re going to narrow your client base down. And for some of you, that’s okay. But always remember that you’re trying to work with people professionally so there are a whole bunch of factors about personal relationships, religion, and politics that may have nothing to do with your professional relationships. If this is difficult, consider using multiple accounts. Have an account that you use to connect with clients. It might be an account that looks like a personal Facebook account but your friends are business colleagues and you only share business information.

I have a Facebook account that I don’t use very often. But I call it my friends and family account and it has two rules. Rule number one, there’s no talking about technology on it. I use this account when I want to keep up on just a few family members or react and I don’t want to bombard them with tech news or deal with technology. I have to talk about technology all the time and every day at work I’m using computers and cameras and sometimes I’d like to not make that a part of my world.

And I have a rule that we must have eaten five meals together face to face. Actually, sit down in the real world. There aren’t people here that I know from a conference or met once. These are people that I’ve actually eaten with and have had real world conversations. As such it’s a very small group, about 50. And it’s comprised of some of my oldest friends and my closest family members.That doesn’t mean that I’m not also connected to those people on another account.

But some people choose to segment. You also can achieve this by using groups to sort things out and that’s what I do most of the time now. Sometimes I’ll post things only to a family group so that they get it. Other times I’ll post things to be public and not just my friends can see it on Facebook. Some social platforms like Twitter are essentially public platforms. As such, I share very different information. When I’m posting to something like Foursquare my thoughts about a restaurant or a location, well, I’m not revealing a lot of personal information because everybody can see that.

So think about balancing this out. How much you share versus not share and the relative privacy levels of each network that you’re using. And remember, social media addiction is real. People can become and do become addicted to social media. They have a constant need for approval.They want to check and see if people have reacted. How many likes did I get? What’s the ranking on that photo? How many views do I have? I’ve had to fire a video editor for social media addiction.

It was one reason among others but we constantly had a problem that this editor couldn’t stay off of social media. Even when working in the edit suite with clients, constantly felt the need to check their status and post updates while they were supposed to be working and it wasn’t a part of their job. I’ve also seen people get fired for posting things that they shouldn’t, complaining about clients or co-workers. I’ve seen people complain about having a job interview with us and I can tell you, that they didn’t get the job.

You have to think before you post and many people are so caught up in the feeling or the rush of feedback or like that they matter. They do this so much that nothing else gets done. Yes, social media is important. Yes, you do need to post and share about your business. But if all you do is social media, well, chances are, you’re not going to get a lot of real work done. And you’re not going to keep those clients happy. And you’re not going to keep your family or loved ones happy.

So you have to find some balance. And always think about confidentiality or privacy concerns. Many times when doing work for clients, they’re going to expect that you honor a confidentiality agreement–that you don’t share news about their project before it’s released. Or that you don’t paint things in a negative light. It’s very important when dealing with people professionally when your social world and your professional world interact, that you keep this in consideration. Now you have to be careful here.

Maybe there’s a great image that you just captured for a client or a behind the scenes image or post that you want to make. But if that campaign hasn’t launched yet or the client wants to be able to publish the image, they might not want you sharing it to social media. When your business world interacts with your personal world it’s always a good idea to get permission. Check that client’s going to allow you to post. Always give credit where credit is due. And make sure that you look to see if the content is cleared for release.

One more thing. Remember, nothing is private online. Anything you post online, even if you’ve set it to private, isn’t private. People can take screen shots and repost. They can see something and talk about it. Nothing you do that’s been turned into an image, a video, or the written word, can be taken back. Someone can capture it and re-share it. And this happens over and over and over again.

That direct message you sent, might not be so private. That one on one email or chat on Facebook where you’re getting into an argument with someone all of a sudden is posted and shared with others. There’s a lot of people out there who like to troll, get into fights, get in arguments, and see people blow up. Don’t fall for this. So, what sort of message are you going to send online? Balance your sharing with over-sharing.

Also, remember not to come off as needy. No one wants to hire somebody who seems desperate for work. Don’t talk about how many days it’s been since you’ve been on a client shoot. Don’t talk about being in a rut or having financial problems. We can all use a little more work. We can all be busier, but make sure that people see that you are working and that you’re open to new projects. Don’t be a fighter.

It feels good to win but you never really win an online fight. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way a few times in my life. You don’t want the negative energy or the context being misconstrued. Make sure that people see you as genuine. Don’t be boastful. Don’t  brag. There is a lot of people who come off as online experts that I would never trust or hire in the real world.

Don’t spend so much time trying to prove yourself that people think you are either full of it or vain. If you’re qualified and you’re passionate that should come through in a naturally organic way. You don’t have to tell everyone how awesome you are. And make sure people see you as trustworthy. If they feel like private information won’t be kept private, or that you’re going to simply be always looking out for yourself, people are going to be very cautious about interacting with you.

Finally, make sure that you’re not trying to purposely push buttons, manipulate the situation, troll for arguments, or post things just to get a response out of folks. What it comes down to is think before you post. Don’t over-share or share the wrong stuff. Now you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed here. It all really comes down to judgment. If this is something you struggle with well, I’m going to say what I said earlier. Start to listen. See who’s succeeding. Now, follow them.

Look at people you respect. Look at people who are professionally succeeding and see how they behave online. And then follow their example. Alright, now that you understand some of the soft rules and guidelines. Next let’s move on to some actual strategies about posting content.