Person in the plaid shorts is GETTIN’ IT though! That isolation is flawless.
I’m not tryna be like one of those fast food or automobile commercials geared toward Black people. Cue the generic hip-hop or R&B instrumental! Cue the well dressed bearded man or the adorable socialite with natural hair! Add a “mmmhm, gurl!” after you sip your refreshing beverage and make sure all the friends in the backseat are varying shades of brown! WHAT’S IN THE NEW CHICKEN WRA–
As a young person in the media business, branding and social media are everything. I know my colleagues and future employers
lurk check out my social media outlets. Am I a good fit for their brand? Do I look and sound like I’d be a good addition to the team?
My goal is to help you represent yourself responsibly on the internets with your integrity and authenticity in tact. We’re multifaceted people with diverse interests and backgrounds. Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like I have to drastically change my online behavior to impress my Potential Employer who, 97.8% of the time, is White. (Yes I made up that percentage. It just feels right.) Even though I have a generic American accent, I too, have a White Voice that I can switch on and off at the drop of a snapback. I wish I didn’t feel the need to have one, but I do. Such is the world we live in.
So here are my tips to you, Young Urban aka Black Professional! Note: I’m varying degrees of horrible at following my own tips.
**assumption: you use your real name on social media**
Common problem: you tweet every damn thing that comes to your mind. #Nofilter
Solution: make a concerted effort to balance your tweets between professional and narcissistic/leisure. For example, I should retweet news of the day or link to an article I’m reading and sprinkle in some “day in the life” tweets. It shows I’m engaged in my industry, but I’m also a real person who complains about being stuck in traffic.
Common problem: you utilize urban vernacular.
Solution: we all have different opinions on using “nigga” in our everyday language. And adding the #badbitch hashtag to your twitpic does NOT mean you’ll make a bad employee. But that’s rarely the point, isn’t it? I suggest you avoid the usage of slurs or curse words, but don’t completely change your speech pattern. Nawwwmsayin is much more effortless than do you know what I’m saying. You only have a 140 characters anyway. Aint nobody got time for subject-verb agreement and “correct” spelling, ya eeeerd meh?
Other solution: make a public, professional twitter and a private, leisure twitter.
And I don’t care what app platform thing you use, you’re bound to make a mistake and post something unprofessional on the twitter that your clients follow. #dropittothefloor #makethatassshake
Common problem: the people you follow can be ignorant, but they’re hilarious.
Solution: be stingy with your retweets. even if you slap a disclaimer in your profile description, who you retweet is a reflection of who you are. Just click “favorite” instead and giggle about it later. I admit this is very hard for me, because Black Twitter (and Black Gay Guy Twitter more specifically) is effortlessly entertaining. Y’alls similes and metaphors and ugh I love y’all so much. But those blasted urban vernaculars will get me in trouble one day…
Common problem: Your friend posted that video of you twerking and tagged you in it. Or it may be something as low key as you enjoying alcoholic beverages while dancing on a table or consuming certain herbs that may or may not be legal in your state…
Solution: WHY HAVEN’T YOU CHANGED YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS YET? Facebook lets you divide your friends into lists and manipulate the privacy settings for each list. I have a list called ADULTS!! and it includes older family members, church members, colleagues, mentors, etc that don’t need to see every Big Sean music video I post on my wall. And you know that friends of friends (that aren’t YOUR friends) can comment on YOUR stuff just because of that one degree of separation??? CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS.
Common problem: Facebook is an important part of your career publicity, but you’re not ’bout that 5000+ friend requests life. You don’t want your readers/viewers/audience seeing conversations between your family.
Solution: Start a Facebook “like” page! It’s like a regular Facebook, except you’ve never actually met any of the “friends” in person! You can professionally communicate with a large number of people without potentially exposing your close friends’ or family’s business.
(I don’t know why you’d advertise your tumblr as a way for potential employers to get in touch with you. Child please, it’s where you go to vent and reblog hot supermodels and scroll through Breaking Bad gifs! And people post breasteses and penile related things here.)
Common problem: it’s like twitter and tumblr at the same damn time.
Solution: exercise self control and use your discretion when posting things on Instagram. Flaunt what you got but remember who may be watching. It’s a steady stream of real-time images from your life, so it paints a picture (however Valencia-fied) of who you are and what you’re doing. A lot of beautiful young people are posting before and after P90x photos. “I just woke up” photos. You and the boo photos. Freakum dress photos. I’m happy for you and ima letchu finish, but do you really want your boss to know what you’re up to from 5 to 9? Maybe you do, in which case, I’m not here to judge. But maybe you don’t. So yeah.
Bonus: we’re all 21+ now, so go ahead and Earlybird that Sunday brunch mimosa pitcher.
That’s all I got! Our generation is so used to having no privacy that we don’t realize our online actions could have serious consequences. If you’re in the public eye as a media personality, for example, one unsavory urban vernacular could get you fired. Sometimes the way we express ourselves as vibrant, young, urban aka black adults can block opportunities that we’re more than qualified for. I’m making light of stereotypes and Black Youth as a monolith, but in all seriousness, your next boss might be Googling your name.
Hopefully you’re okay with what they see.