twitter.jpgPeople like to tweet just about everything on social networking site Twitter.

This morning’s sampling:

@Lisa_Wade Ya know I have always thought Glenn Beck to be an ass. At least now he’s confirmed it.

@MarketingProfs In Woodstock, VT, which is lovely. But can someone please send me some bandwidth c/o the Woodstock Inn? thx.

@Ohiomale Understanding The Islamic Republic of Iran http://bit.ly/5c7vv #iran #iranelection #gr88 #neda

The comments go from the serious to the mundane from people around the globe. That’s what makes Twitter so great and so annoying.

But how do you use such a service to maximize your career, especially if you’re one of the poor souls that works at home or in a far-flung division office?

Since it’s a public forum and people are constantly telling us all about themselves, it doesn’t seem odd if you get on their and start tooting your own horn. If you did this on internal IM or email it might sound weird. But since everyone is touting their latest accomplishments, such as book deals, or landing new clients, you can just jump on the bandwagon.

If you’re boss and other managers are following you on Twitter, or checking you out on Facebook, suddenly they can see all that you’ve done.

“Social media gives you a chance to brag positively,” says Zack Grossbart, who has written a yet-to-be published book called “The One Minute Commute.”

Typical office politics, he adds, “are fueled by a lack of information. Someone else portrays him/herself as more knowledgeable, hardworking, and in the loop
than you are. Many times these claims are difficult to prove and rumors keep flying. It is difficult for your boss and your team to know what you are doing every day, in the office or out of it.”

But now you have cyber social networking you lucky telecommuting stiffs.

“Brag about your wins or just what you’re excited about,” he explains. “Show people that you are engaged in your work and doing important things.”

Before you run out and start bragging about every little thing you do, however, take a deep breath and be smart about it. And beware of revealing too much personal info. I’d suggest staying away from Twitter after dinner, especially if you had a nice Chianti with your fava beans. You don’t want to be telling the world, and your managers, about the great bowel movement you had that morning. (Seriously folks, people have actually tweeting stuff like this.)

Here are answers to some key questions I asked Grossbart:

A: Is there a time/circumstance when a telecommuter should never use
social media?
Q: You should never send privileged information over social media. If you
wouldn’t put it on a billboard then don’t put it on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve also spoken with companies concerned by social media. They just don’t
want to worry that an employee will spill corporate secrets in a tweet. In
those cases you can find yourself in trouble without doing anything wrong.
Always check with your company policies before using social media to discuss
your work. Personally I’ve had to secure permission before disclosing
technical details which my company may consider a trade secret.

A: Do you have any social media-telecommuter horror stories?

Q: The social media horror story that I hear over and over again is recruiters
working for large companies dismissing potential candidates for what is on
their blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages. Everyone knows you can get
in trouble for lascivious pictures, but I’ve talked to recruiters who’ve
passed over candidates because of such minor offenses as bad grammar and
discussions of family pets.

When faced with two potential employees of relatively equal merit, many
hiring managers will dismiss the one who presents themselves poorly or mixes
their personal and professional lives online. This is especially true for
bad writing. You don’t need to write like Hemingway, but good grammar, spell
checking, and complete sentences are a must.

When it comes to personal details it is best to keep your private life
separate from your working one. Companies don’t look down on candidates that
have hobbies or families, but they do look down on too many of those details
in forums meant for business.

So go ahead, use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any social networking site to Tweet your work feats.

But maybe keep these things to yourself:

* On my way to the office, gonna settle everything with my stupid jkt boss today

* I love my cat but she’s such an asshole sometimes.

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